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Speaker Newt Gingrich – Bipartisan Move to Help Iranians Achieve Freedom

Speaker Newt GingrichParis, February 2, 2013 - Thank you, very, very much.  And I have to confess that that does make me feel welcome, so I'm grateful.  Callista and I are delighted to be with you today.  This is the fourth time I have worked with you, and in the short time I've been directly involved we have seen progress, for example, in your legal status in the United States—progress that did not seem possible a few years ago.  Things are developing.  It was totally appropriate that your master of ceremonies it eh attorney who first took up the case and who in the last 11 years has made such a difference in making sure that the world understands that this is a movement for freedom, for democracy, for equality, not a movement for terrorism.  And so I commend your master of ceremonies for the great work he did.  And I commend your leader for the extraordinary courage she has shown in standing up to a dictatorial regime quite capable of killing, torturing and assassinating.  It is an honor to be with you today.  [applause]


I also want to note that my good friends, Governor Howard Dean and Ambassador/Governor/Congressman/Secretary Bill Richardson are here and that we are truly a bipartisan movement in the United States seeking to work together to help the people of Iran achieve freedom from the current dictatorship. [applause] The very background of some of your speakers should give you hope.  Spain, a generation ago, was a dictatorship.  Estonia, a generation ago, was a dictatorship.  The Czech Republic a generation ago was a dictatorship.  Callista and I had the honor in making a film to interview both Vaclav  Havel and Lech Walesa.  And in Poland and in Czechoslovakia they were  growing up in a dictatorship, the cause of freedom seemed hopeless.  And yet suddenly one morning freedom broke loose.


I want to bring you, as a historian, a message of hope.  The dictatorship is not strong.  The dictatorship is frightened.  You would not have how many warning that anyone talking about free elections is engaged in sedition and is a traitor if he were not terrified of free elections.  And why would a dictator be terrified of free elections?  Because he knows he would lose them.  Now if you have to distrust the people so much that you can't give them a choice, you give up all legitimacy.  And one of the major goals of the democracies should be to hammer away at the absolute lack of legitimacy on the part of the Iranian dictatorship, which does not deserve to be negotiated for an agreement to survive.  Our goal should be to replace the dictatorship, not to find an agreement with it.  [applause]

Let me be very clear about what I believe our goal has to be.  There is not—I wish to disagree with a term I've heard here—there is not a third path.  Because people argue, well, there's going to be war or a nuclear Iran.  No, there's going to be war sooner or war later, but a nuclear Iran will inevitably be very aggressive, very risk-taking and very dangerous if this dictatorship has nuclear weapons.  So there are only two choices.  A choice of sooner or later being forced to confront the dictatorship, or a direct clear movement to undermine and replace the dictatorship as the only path to peace in the region is to have a free and independent Iran in which the people choose the government because the people will not choose war.  [applause]

We have to do a much better job of communicating to people in Europe, America and across the planet, that this dictatorship is illegitimate, is weak, and is dangerous.  Its very weakness makes it dangerous.  The fact is, we need to isolate the dictatorship and establish as our goal its replacement.  And we need to be clear—and this is a political argument in every country—what should our goal be?  Let me give you the example of the cynicism of building a prison and calling it Camp Liberty.  Totally cynical.  But we should be saying there's only one relocation plan that makes sense.  The 3,100 people in Camp Liberty should be relocated to a free, democratic Iran where they can go home in security.  [applause]

We should not accept the premise that this dictatorship will last for years and years.  We should insist on continuing to increase the sanctions, continuing to increase the isolation, and we need a dramatically greater political campaign inside Iran to give every young Iranian hope that there is a better future.  A future of freedom.  A future of prosperity.  A future without threats and a future where they can travel across the planet and not be afraid of their own government.  I believe that this movement and your president is a key step to a free Iran.  I am honored to be here.  And I salute the courage all of you have, and in particular the courage she has.  [applause]

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