My respect for this institution is enormous as it embodies the best of America’s promise to the world — in terms of what liberty and representative democracy means. You see it, and you practice it here everyday; a dream my compatriots – I am hopeful — will see in reality someday very, very, soon.
Senator Santorum, over the years your leadership has stood apart when it comes to the issue dearest to 70 million Iranians. You have been among the first and strongest proponents of democracy in Iran and have stood up for freedom wherever it has been suppressed, in Iran or elsewhere around the world.
Senator Martinez, I thank you also for your leadership and am heartened that liberty and freedom are two words particularly close to your heart in view of your heritage, sir, and that of the constituency you so ably represent.
As you have both so well articulated, the dangers and issues confronting us today are very, very real; the biggest question however is how to best deal with the increasingly militant and adventurous regime in Tehran.
Clearly, war is an option rejected and which, as far as I am concerned, must be taken off the table; equally ineffective, is the process of endless diplomacy which has been fruitlessly pursued, now for several years — with the full prestige, backing and weight of the European Union, Russia, the UN and the United States. The net result of this process has been that the militant clerical regime of Iran is today not only closer to reaching its enrichment objectives, but also recklessly emboldened by the lack of resolve it has seen amongst the practitioners of international diplomacy.
I believe and would like to present for your serious consideration, and sharing with your colleagues, my view on how to best deal with the clerical regime of Iran: It is an integrated three-pronged policy of “Confrontation, Pressure and Support.” I believe the regime needs to be confronted where ever it is up to mischief (i.e. Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or even right here in the western hemisphere); simultaneously the regime needs to be pressured by way of a progressive set of smart, vigorous and targeted sanctions aimed at the economic, political and personal interests of its power base, avoiding the people; all while, the world will need to provide unapologetic and robust support for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.
This is a policy that will undoubtedly require international support, but one which need not necessarily be kept hostage to myopia or the commercial interests of certain nation-states that have proven less than reliable in terms of standing up to the bullying of the clerical regime.
In closing, I wish to leave you with this thought: Throughout our long and proud history, the Iranian nation has had to, time and again, stand up to, and overcome much adversity. This too, is a passing storm in our long history. We are determined and have no doubt that we will ride this storm to victory — achieving our goal of liberty, modernity and democracy. Our struggle, however, will become much easier knowing that we will have the unwavering support of nations that choose — today — to side with us, in our national quest for democracy.
The time to make that choice is now.