In recent months, the cause of freedom has made enormous gains in the broader Middle East. Millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq defied terrorists to cast their ballots in free elections. Palestinians voted for a new president who rejects violence and is working for democratic reform, and the people of Lebanon reclaimed their sovereignty and are now voting for new leadership. Across the Middle East, hopeful change is taking place. People are claiming their liberty. And as a tide of freedom sweeps this region, it will also come eventually to Iran.
The Iranian people are heirs to a great civilization - and they deserve a government that honors their ideals and unleashes their talent and creativity. Today, Iran is ruled by men who suppress liberty at home and spread terror across the world. Power is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy.
The June 17th presidential elections are sadly consistent with this oppressive record. Iran's rulers denied more than a thousand people who put themselves forward as candidates, including popular reformers and women who have done so much for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran.
The Iranian people deserve a genuinely democratic system in which elections are honest - and in which their leaders answer to them instead of the other way around. The Iranian people deserve a truly free and democratic society with a vibrant free press that informs the public and ensures transparency. They deserve freedom of assembly, so Iranians can gather and press for reform and a peaceful, loyal opposition can keep the government in check. They deserve a free economy that delivers opportunity and prosperity and economic independence from the state. They deserve an independent judiciary that will guarantee the rule of law and ensure equal justice for all Iranians. And they deserve a system that guarantees religious freedom, so that they can build a society in which compassion and tolerance prevail.
Today, the Iranian regime denies all these rights. It shuts down independent newspapers and websites and jails those who dare to challenge the corrupt system. It brutalizes its people and denies them their liberty.
America believes in the independence and territorial integrity of Iran. America believes in the right of the Iranian people to make their own decisions and determine their own future. America believes that freedom is the birthright and deep desire of every human soul. And to the Iranian people, I say: As you stand for your own liberty, the people of America stand with you.
Why state the obvious? Remember this?
The Mullahs have built a wall that must also be torn down. The people of Iran can do this, just as the people of Berlin did. As they were inspired by the words of Ronald Reagan, so can the people of Iran take heart from the words of President Bush.
We can see that Iranians are building up to it; that their own deepest desire is to rid themselves of the horribly, oppressive government of the theocrats that oppresses and stifles the entire society. Yet inspite of all that has been done to the people by their thugs in government/religion, the medieval torturers, disguised as an elected government, has not yet been able to destroy the spirit of the Iranian people.
I hope that by his words and continued actions supporting Freedom and Democracy in the Middle East, President Bush will unleash the spirit of Freedom into the souls of the people there. That those who live in fear and misery can see that their yearnings to be free are not an impossible dream; but a reality that awaits them if they are willing to take the risks and make the sacrifices necessary.
Because this is a dream that is worth any price.
UPDATE: And here is the response of the Iranian regime to the President's remarks. Doesn't it remind you of the 99% of the people who "voted" for Saddam Hussein in his last election? I would suggest that those in power in Iran are very afraid, otherwise why bother to respond at all? If this is the best they can do: (grandeur?? GRANDEUR?)
"People's presence at this election is a sign of the Islamic Revolution's grandeur and sufficient proof that the US president's remarks regarding Iran's presidential election are quite worthless."
Then you must wonder exactly what is worthless--Bush's remarks...or the Mullahs elections?
UPDATE II: Here is a good reason to be wary of what you read in the international media about the Iranian elections.
According to various news accounts, the international media in Iran for the election is estimated between 70 and 200 foreign journalists. Opposition leaders claim that each journalist is required to have a government minder present with them. They also report that these journalists do not have the freedom to visit anywhere they choose. So the international media is reporting from government designated polling places.
Keep that in mind as you evaluate what they are saying. And keep Regime Change Iran on your link list.