December 14, 2017

The final showdown for a free Iran

Speech by Senator Robert Torricelli in the European Parliament

“We are talking about Camp Liberty and Ashraf, but I think everybody in the room knows it is really about Iran.

“What is happening in Liberty is pretty much a part of the final showdown for a free Iran. It is what is happening in Syria or wherever else the Iranian regime employs its terrorism. This is a proxy fight on that regime and it is one more reason why we, the international community, dare not lose.

“I was thinking something while listening to the discourse here this morning, you know, that history is so hard to see when you see it up close. But a wonderful thing is happening here today in the western world. This European parliament is becoming the conscience of the western world. And what a wonderful thing it is to see. What a wonderful thing, and what a time for you to come into your own, when you are needed more than ever to be heard on behalf of the people of Camp Liberty and of a free Iran.


“The simple reality is we, the international community and each of our institutions; need to accept a certain truth. There is one thing we must accept about the Mullahs in Iran as we try to appease them, accommodate them, and compromise with them in failure after failure after failure. At some point, when you take a person out their world, they are not interested in appeasement. They are not interested in compromise. It shows the best of this parliament and my congress and the international community that we have tried and tried and tried. It is a good statement about us, but it will not work. Sometimes you have to look the truth in the face.

“In my country, as I suspect as I am sensing in this parliament, a very broad coalition was formed in support of the MEK. Not simply because we think it is the best opposition group, but because in reality it is the only opposition group. The Mullahs have destroyed any independent voice. There is no one left standing that has the organization and leadership and resources and is willing to make the sacrifice of lives to bring freedom to the oppressed people of Iran. So, from democrats, republicans, left and right, as I am sensing in this parliament, we stand firmly behind the MEK as the one organization that can end this nightmare for the Iranian people.

The road to a free Tehran today is through Liberty. It is important to understand the attack on the Liberty. Much as those who sat in our chairs 15 year ago, 10 years ago, and saw the attack on Sarajevo not as an attack on the people who lived there, but on credibility of your parliament and my congress and the United Nations and international community after we gave our word over the security of these people. The UN gave its commitment. We were there to protect their lives and we didn’t. I understood the outrage of Sarajevo and Ruanda and a host of other places. I don’t understand the silence here. They didn’t attack the people of Liberty. They attacked the credibility of the UN and Europe and America. We were attacked. You, me. That is the issue that is before us today.

“Now the people of camp Liberty, not in anger, but in response to the fact that we didn’t keep our word, have made a simple request: they want to leave, and to return to the relative safety of camp Ashraf. Not an unreasonable request. Or they want simply the means to be defended in Liberty. I will tell you what they want and anyone here can tell me why it is unreasonable. They owned bullet proof western helmets. They want no money. They want no gifts. They owned them. They are at Ashraf. They would like them brought to Liberty. Is this unreasonable? The US’s military had left t-walls for blast protection around the places were men and women now sleep in camp Liberty. They exist for exactly this kind of attack; they are paid for by our tax payers. They would like them brought back to Camp Liberty to defend them against another attack. Unreasonable? Is there something wrong with that? They would like blast protection bunkers. They would like to know there is a safety zone around the camp from which rockets cannot be launched. Who here can argue with one of those requests?

“Who here can argue with one of those requests? Instead we were told by my government and perhaps yours that security lies not through these means, but in leaving the country. I would accept that if we were talking about 3,200 people, but we moved 7 in the last year.

“The number who have been killed is greater than those who have moved. But the request is to move 70 or 100 or 200? If you take every country now willing to accept people from Liberty, everyone, assume there are no problems and get them all out tomorrow, it might be 500 people. 2700 remain. No helmets, no T-walls, no glass protection, no safety. Facing imminent attack the 2700.

“If I were to say that in this room, this room is going to be attacked, 10 of you can leave and the remainder will stay and face death, would you? And if you did, what kind of people are you? There is a wonderful quote that I have remembered all my life. At the end of the battle in France and as the battle of Britain was beginning, the Germans sent a message to Churchill. Would he surrender? He was so contemptuous, he didn’t answer. He simply said: what kind of people do they think we are? What kind of people would live in Camp Liberty, if they would leave their children, their brothers, their sisters, their comrades, people whom they have lived with for 26 years?

“And if a few would run for the door and leave the rest to fight for their lives, what kind of people would they be? That is not the answer to security. Tell me where we were wrong in what we have asked for? Tell me that having a few leave and having the rest behind is right and we will do it. Which you know it is not and that is the line that separates us today.

“How do we move on from this? Those diplomats, who prescribed appeasing the Iranians or leaving Liberty in danger to wait and wait for the Iraqi’s false claims of protection, do not have the answer. They are answerable in a democratic society to our constituencies.

“I know it is the hardest thing in politics to see history up close. You can never see where it going or where it is has come from, even if after few years it has become obvious. Here is what is obvious: even as we speak, the seeds of the end of the Iranian regime are being planted. You can see it in Syria, you can see it in Iraq, you can see in international forums. It is there. It is coming; someday soon it will appear. By being here today you have chosen sides. You have done the greatest thing any parliamentarian can do. And this is why I believe this parliament has become the conscience of the western world.

“Anybody can stand with the rich; anybody can take the side of the powerful. Anybody can be intimidated by nuclear weapons. Anybody can be intimidated by oil, but those who will stand with the poor over the rich, the weak over strong, will not only inherit history, but in moments like this, they can proud of it for the rest of their lives. Not only that, you are the side of the rich and I believe you are on the side of the winners. We have days or weeks, not months, to save the lives of the people of Liberty. Remind your diplomats who they work for and remind them of the kind of parliament that you want to be part of, and of everything that Europe should represent to the world. This is that moment. Thank you very much for having me today.”