U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, hailed passage today of a bipartisan resolution he authored with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) supporting the dissidents in Iran. The House passed the resolution overwhelmingly by a vote of 405 to 1. Mr. Pence’s remarks on the floor are as follows:
“I rise with a great sense of humility and a great sense of the moment before this body but with a great sense of gratitude to the Ranking Member for her extraordinary leadership in bringing this resolution to the floor. It’s a resolution, which as the Chairman of the Committee just stated quite eloquently, will give the American people through their elected representatives a clear opportunity on this day, after a week of violence and tumult in the nation of Iran, the opportunity to express the American people’s support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law.
“I am especially grateful for the leadership and the spirit brought to this legislation by Chairman Howard Berman, with whom I don't agree on very much. But I am grateful that he demonstrates today a public mindedness that I think is in keeping with the best traditions of this institution. Ronald Reagan would say in 1964, ‘You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or a right. Well, I’d like to suggest there's no such thing as left or right. There's only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom, consistent with law and order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.’ The leadership of Chairman Howard Berman today demonstrates that on the issue of speaking a word of encouragement to those who would stand with extraordinary valor for their own liberty, there is no left or right in this body.
“It has been, as it has been stated before, an extraordinary week in the life of the nation of Iran. On 12 June, just one week ago, from the very moment that the presidential election results were announced, the international community and the international press called the results into question. Chief among the reasons for that was that, even before the extraordinary demonstrations had begun, was that millions of paper ballots had apparently been tallied and counted within a matter of hours. The official government results of the election were met with public consternation among the people of Iran. And while the defeated candidate launched a legal appeal, as the western media has reported, what has ensued on the streets of Tehran has been the biggest demonstration in the Islamic republic’s 30-year history.
“And most sadly, following that election day the actions by the government, and militias that support the government, have turned to violence. Pro-government forces have attacked demonstrators over the past week causing fatalities, resulting in the arrest of dissidents. We have heard of foreign reporters prevented from making their way into the public. We've heard of the jamming of electronic communications. We may well be witnessing a Tiananmen in Tehran. It seems to me in this moment the people of the United States of America long to be heard. And by dent of House Resolution 560 today, through their elected representatives, the American people will have just that opportunity.
“This resolution simply states that the House of Representatives expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. It also condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cell phones. And lastly, it affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.
“I have said many times this week, and it has been echoed by my colleagues, like the Republican Whip Eric Cantor, that the cause of America is freedom. And in this cause the American people will not be silent. There is no intention here to pick sides in the Iranian election. There is an intention here, in a true spirit of bipartisanship, to allow the American people to be on the side of liberty and to be on the side of freedom. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this legislation because the voice of the American people has before, and I believe in my heart of hearts will again, make a difference in the advancements of human liberty in the world. I urge your support and I yield.”