Former House Speaker and Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich described the clerical establishment of Iran as “a dictatorship with a façade of democracy,” adding, “If you're not part of the dictatorship, and you’re not acceptable to the dictator, you can’t run, and therefore to pretend that the elections actually offer any serious choice to the Iranian people is simply a fantasy.”
Mr. Gingrich was speaking at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Friday, held by the Organization of Iranian American Communities, OIAC. The event was moderated by Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs under the George W. Bush administration.
Referring to President Donald Trump’s Iran strategy roll-out, the House Speaker said, “If you look at the decertification speech, which I think without question is the most methodical outline of how bad the dictatorship is, that any American senior leader has ever uttered, it’s quite a remarkable speech. And what it tells you is that in the long run it is not just in the interest of the United States to find a better way to do inspections or to find some other device that allows us to continue with the current agreement, it is in the long run in the interest of the United States to find a way to replace the dictatorship.”
“As long as that dictatorship is in power, as long as it’s able to spend money, as long as it is able to project terrorism around the world, it is ultimately a mortal danger to the United States. And of course, it was a terrible thing for the Iranian people. A dictatorship which in 1988 killed 30,000 people. They’re surviving by sheer repression. It is a fantasy to suggest that the dictatorship would survive without repression,” the former Presidential candidate emphasized.
Pointing to the inclusion of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT), Mr. Gingrich underscored that [the Treasury Department] has the potential to really dramatically weaken the IRGC if they could apply the resources to it and if they’re tough minded and extend it to all the institutions. The IRGC is a large part of the Iranian economy, and if in fact we’re serious about isolating them and restricting them we’re going to have a huge impact that ripples back to the entire Iranian economy.”
Noting that he had been working with the Iranian opposition going back to the days when he was the House Speaker, Mr. Gingrich said, “The Iranian dictatorship ran a false flag operation to set up a totally phony designation which the State Department and bureaucracy went along with. So, for a long period of time we were willing to listen to the dictatorship while not listening to the resistance, even though the resistance was trying to tell us the truth about the dictatorship which was lying to us.”
As for the future direction of U.S. policy, the former House Speaker stressed, “I hope that this administration will now as part of this process of beginning to unravel both the IRGC and then ultimately the dictatorship, will reach out [to the source of that information in a much more collaborative way to coordinate information and to coordinate advice and find ways to work together. The National Council of Resistance of Iran has a tremendous potential, and [NCRI President-elect] Mrs. [Maryam] Rajavi has done an amazing job of leading an organization through a very long, very difficult period. And I would hope that at some point in the near future that she would be given an invitation to officially visit the United States, and have a chance both to meet with American leaders in Washington, but also to go around the country.”
Responding to a question posed by Amb. Bloomfield as to whether the NCRI is a viable opposition to the clerical establishment of Iran, Mr. Gingrich said, “I would say anybody who has any doubts should go to Paris for the annual meeting of the worldwide organization and look out at 100,000 people and look out at representatives from 40 or 50 different countries who show up, elected officials and former elected officials literally from dozens of countries you’d never expect. And ask yourself, you know, why is it that this is the most vocal, the most energetic, the widest spread resistance to the Iranian dictatorship. And I don’t think anybody even comes in second in terms of scale.”
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Harvard-educated, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a world-renowned business strategist and advisor, a leading Iranian-American political scientist, president of the International American Council on the Middle East, and best-selling author. He serves on the advisory board of Harvard International Review.
Dr. Rafizadeh is frequently invited to brief governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as speak, as a featured speaker, at security, business, diplomatic, and social events. He has been recipient of several fellowships and scholarships including from Oxford University, Annenberg, University of California Santa Barbara, Fulbright program, to name a few.
He is regularly quoted and invited to speak on national and international outlets including CNN, BBC World TV and Radio, ABC, Aljazeera English, Fox News, CTV, RT, CCTV America, Skynews, CTV, and France 24 International, to name a few. . He analyses have appeared on academic and non-academic publications including New York Times International, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Nation, The National. Aljazeera, The Daily Beast, The Nation, Jerusalem Post, The Economic Times, USA Today Yale Journal of International Affairs, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and Harvard International Review. He is a board member of several significant and influential international and governmental institutions, and he is native speaker of several of languages including Persian and Arabic. He also speaks Dari, and can converse in French, Hebrew. More at Harvard. And You can learn more about Dr. Rafizadeh on here. A version of this post was originally published on the Arab News.