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Governor Tom Ridge: Promises Not Kept, Simple Betrayal

Governor Tom Ridge  –Convention for Democracy in Iran, Villepinte, Paris, France

Convention for Democracy in Iran, Paris, June 22, 2013 - Hello, thank you.  We've come a long way together.  We haven't reached the top of the mountain.  We have to keep climbing.  Are you ready to climb? 

It's going to be a little steeper these days because according to the Western press the people of Iran have elected a moderate.  We know differently, don't we?  Many Western governments and the Western press have said let's give them a little time.  American press and the administration has said, let's give them a little time. 

Time is not our ally, ladies and gentlemen.  Time is not our ally.  You can just take a look at the attacks on Liberty and draw the same conclusion yourself.  I say to my government time is not the ally of these freedom fighters in Camp Liberty.  And you are not a friend of the MEK.  Time is not an ally of these brave men and women who have endured incredible hardship at Camp Ashraf and Liberty. 

One of the extraordinary things over the past several years is my country, beginning with the surrender of the weapons by the men and women of the MEK, has been that the U.S. has given these soldiers for freedom, multiple promises, public promises, repeated promises.  It began when they surrendered their weapons and we assured them that they would be protected under the Geneva Conventions as protected persons. 

It has continued up until a couple months ago when even after they moved to Camp Liberty they were assured by the government of the United States of America that we would provide for their safety and security.  We haven't kept our promises.  And I would say to you that promises not kept to the men and women in Ashraf and Liberty, considering the magnitude of those promises carrying such horrific and fatal consequences, is simply betrayal.  We made you a promise, we haven't kept it, you have been betrayed. 

We gather today to call for action, to plead to the United States and the Western world loudly, clearly and consistently, support the democratic opposition in Iran, the MEK, and provide for the safety and security of the men and women at Liberty and Ashraf. 

It's a call to action.  It's a call to keep a promise.  A bond once made, a bond once made between likeminded, democratic people, because for all of us who love freedom, for all who fight for democracy, the shared bond and values of liberty run deep.  No matter how ruthless and violent this despotic repressive regime in Tehran and its allies may be, it will never, never sear from the hearts and minds of the MEK the aspiration, the dream, the goal to live in a free, tolerant, compassionate, open and democratic Iran. 

Iraq and Iran can conspire to imprison, exile, torture, rocket, murder the men and women of Ashraf and Liberty.  But they will never, and I repeat, never extinguish or terminate their commitment to a cause greater than themselves.  They are freedom fighters and we must continue to climb on their behalf, to reach the pinnacle of the mountain. 

But there are two more steps to go.  We have to get them out of Iraq.  And we need to do it now.

You've assembled representatives from, they said, 40 or 50 countries, with the presidents, citizens and public officials from around the world.  The UN Declaration of Human Rights reminded us that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in right.  My own country's Declaration of Independence is very relevant to our gathering today where it says, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.  They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

And for this gathering today we take inspiration from the words and message of Madame Rajavi who has said freedom is the most precious of all jewels.  Freedom is the source of progress.  For us freedom is an ideal, it is a belief. 

The people of Camp Liberty need to know that those of us who enjoy the blessings of liberty and freedom are united in support of their heroic and courageous quest for freedom.  They need to know that their cause is our cause. 

And I call on the representatives from the United States Congress that spoke to you today, let's have hearings.  Let's have Madame Rajavi, the face of freedom, testify in the United States government, before the United States government. 

I call on my government, it is obviously knocking on doors around the world to ask them to accept the men and women from Ashraf.  Before anybody else will follow us we must lead, we must open our doors and accept some of these men and women into the United States of America and we need to do it as soon as possible.  Let's get these men and women out of Iraq.  Let's get them resettled.  And let's continue to climb the mountain together. 

May God be with you.  Thank you very much.


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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf