Victims' Rights Caucus



Madam Speaker, the whole world has been watching what has taken place in Copenhagen, Denmark last week and this week. All the talk is about climate change and how man is affecting the climate, but what we need in this world is a climate change in Iran. That's right. We need to change the atmosphere in Iran with what has taken place with the little man from the desert, Ahmadinejad.

Last week and even this week, thousands of students--and here is a photograph of some of them--have taken to the streets to protest the regime of Ahmadinejad and how oppressive it is. They are complaining in this peaceful protest against the tyranny against the people of Iran. Not only Ahmadinejad, but they are protesting the radical mullahs and the Iranian military.

You see, these young people want what everybody throughout the world wants--freedom. Somewhere down in the way that we are made there is this spark; there is this flame of freedom. The people in Iran don't have that, so the young people have taken to the streets--the sons of Iran, the daughters of democracy--and they are protesting the oppressive government. They are protesting the fraudulent elections that got Ahmadinejad elected last summer. They are protesting the fact that they have no freedom in their own country. They have suffered the consequences for these protests. They have been beaten. They have been teargassed. They have been hauled off to jail.

The press has been oppressed as well. In fact, what has occurred is that the Internet has been closed, and cell phones have been blocked--all in the name of preventing young people and others from protesting this oppressive regime.

We all remember this past summer how numerous students were murdered in the streets just because they complained to their government about what was taking place. Already 80 of those protesters, political prisoners, have been tried by the star chamber--in secret, away from anybody in a public trial--and 80 of them have received sentences in an Iranian prison of 15 years or more, and 5 of them have received a sentence of the death penalty.

Why? What is their crime?

Their crime is objecting to the oppression of their own government, and for that, they are punished. Of course, others have been shot in the streets just because they have taken to the streets to protest their government.

You know, the students aren't the only ones who have been arrested. Journalists have been arrested. Clerics, who call themselves ``reform clerics,'' and other people--all for the same reason--objecting to their government. They object to what has taken place.

By blocking the cell phones and Internet access, the government had hoped to keep the word from getting out to the rest of the world about this pollution, about this horrible climate in Iran, but the word has gotten out--photographs such as this one here. Here is another one of a young Iranian student having been beaten for taking to the streets to protest his government last week. This one also escaped the controlled press of the Iranian Government.

You know, Iran violates its own constitution by not allowing its people to protest and to lawfully assemble. They are standing for basic human rights. That's right--the right to peaceably assemble and to object to your government and what it's doing to you. It's the right of free speech--a basic human right. It's the right of a free press, which is a right we take for granted in this country.

So we need a regime change in Iran. The way to do that is to