Convention for Democracy in Iran, Paris, June 22, 2013 - Thank you very much, thank you very much. Now in most countries, in my country, when there's an election there's a sense of renewal, a sense of hope or change. Did anyone feel any hope for change coming out of what happened in Tehran? I didn't think so.
The people of Iran faced an election with only one choice: more of the same. As Bill Richardson mentioned, not only did the Guardian Council not allow Rafsanjani to run, they also did not qualify a clone of Ahmadinejad, although I can't fault them for that logic. But as we know, all of these candidates represented the regime and were handpicked by the regime that has driven Iran into a ditch through 35 years of leadership. But if there's a silver lining in this election it was not what the candidates represented, it was the message that the people of the Iran sent to the Ayatollah. We can do better. We want change. We want a real choice.
But what would that choice look like? Imagine a candidate who offered the people of Iran what they truly deserve, a candidate with a 21st century plan for Iran rather than a 10th century plan for Iran.
A real choice would include a candidate who wants Iran to be a constructive actor, and not a pariah, who believes that Iran has more to contribute to the Middle East than Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad. Who understands that advancing Iran's interests does not mean supporting a dictator who is responsible for 93,000 lives.
A real choice would be someone who believes that human rights and civil rights are more important than nuclear rights. Someone who understands the purpose of the state is to serve the people, not the other way around. Someone prepared to represent all Iranians, including not just the men of Iran but also the women as well.
Imagine equal opportunity in political, economic and social life. No wonder the Ayatollah fears you. Do we know someone who might offer that kind of real choice to the people of Iran? Yes, we do. Now, think about it. “Madame President,” it has a nice ring to it, don't you think? This is something very important for one of the most influential countries in an important region in the world.
Can Iran change? Yes, it can. Will Iran change? Change in Iran is inevitable. When will Iran change? That is the challenge of our generation. That is what brings us here, that someday, whether it's four years from now, eight years from now, however long it takes, that we will bring to the people of Iran a genuine vote for change.
Thank you very much.
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