MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
On November 15, 2019 and in the week that followed, brave Iranians took to the streets of more than 200 cities across Iran to protest four decades of mismanagement by a corrupt regime that squandered its people’s wealth on terrorism abroad and oppression at home. As the protesters exercised their freedom of expression, the regime responded by expressing its radical ideology of indiscriminate violence and terror. In doing so, the regime once again revealed its true nature and squandered any remaining claim to legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people. The regime killed as many as 1,500 Iranians, including at least 23 children.
Tragically, the regime’s reign of terror continues to this day. The regime ignores its own laws and international obligations to the rights of the Iranian people. Thousands of protesters remain in prison, where they are reportedly subjected to flogging, electrical shocks, starvation, beatings, sexual assault and rape, and other acts of torture. Family members of victims are thrown in jail for advocating on behalf of their loved ones. The world should understand that there are no moderates to empower in such an evil regime; only officials who defend and seek to profit from this machine of cruelty. We hope all governments join our call for the Iranian regime to immediately release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
The Iranian regime tried to hide the evidence of its brutal crackdown through censorship, intimidation, and the digital darkness of Internet shutdowns, and still refuses to allow independent investigations into the killings it perpetrated during that fateful week. But we will never forget the regime’s victims. The United States will continue to promote accountability by announcing further actions against the agents of repression later this week to bring a measure of justice to the Iranian people, the longest-suffering victims of the Islamic Republic of Iran.