Former Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, joined Iranian expatriate supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a gathering in Washington D.C. on March 11th, 2023. The event, organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), aimed to call for the establishment of a democratic and free republic in Iran.
Pence, a strong advocate for the Iranian people's rights during his tenure in the Trump-Pence administration, expressed his support for the Iranian people's aspirations for a democratic and free republic. In his speech, he highlighted the need to end the dictatorship in Iran and establish a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iranian republic that derives its powers from the consent of the governed.
"I know I speak on behalf of tens of millions of Americans of both political parties and every political philosophy when I say from my heart that the American people support your goal of establishing a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iranian republic that derives its powers from the consent of the governed," Pence said.
He emphasized that the Trump-Pence administration did not turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the Iranian people and stood with the freedom-loving people in Iran. He noted that the regime's sole focus is on maintaining its precarious grip on power, which grows weaker by the day. "The regime's days are numbered," he said.
Pence also criticized the Biden administration's policy towards Iran, calling for an end to all efforts in support of nuclear negotiations with Tehran. "Appeasement has never worked, and it never will. A renewed nuclear deal won't lead to peace and stability. It will lead to more terrorism, death, and destruction, and destabilize the region," he said.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, also addressed the gathering. Rajavi, who connected to the conference via online, spoke about the current situation in Iran, the failure of the regime's suppression efforts, and the role of the Iranian Resistance and the MEK Resistance Units in the ongoing uprising.
"The current uprising is rooted in the explosive state of Iranian society, poverty, unemployment, and the catastrophic situation of women. The Iranian Resistance, with the MEK Resistance Units, has played a crucial role in organizing and directing the uprising, despite the regime's brutal suppression," Rajavi said.
She also highlighted the role of women in the Iranian Resistance, saying, "Women have played a decisive role in the resistance, the uprisings, and the ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy in Iran. They are the main force of change."
Rajavi emphasized the need for the formation of a National Solidarity Front, bringing together all democratic forces in Iran to overthrow the regime and establish a democratic and free republic. "The NCRI and the MEK, with the support of the Iranian people, are determined to establish a democratic and free republic in Iran," she said.
Pence praised Rajavi's leadership and the NCRI's ten-point plan for the future of Iran, which ensures freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and the freedom of every Iranian to choose their elected leaders.
"The regime in Tehran wants to trick the world into believing that the Iranian protesters want to return to the dictatorship of the Shah. But we're not confused by their lies. The Iranian people do not want to replace one dictator with another. The Iranian people want to be free," Pence said.
The event also featured a Q&A session with Pence and the Chief of Staff, Marc Short. When asked about the responsibility of the current administration to ensure the world stays concerned about the growing threat in Iran, Pence said, "We cannot let the world forget that the greatest source of terrorism in the world is Iran and the mullahs."
Jalal Arani is a UK-based Iran Analyst, Researcher, and Policy Advisor with extensive experience in Iranian politics and the Middle East. He offers insightful analysis of the complex issues facing Iran today and is well-connected to the Iranian diaspora in the UK, US, and Europe.