BEVERLY HILLS — Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said the Obama Administration essentially robbed the Iranian people of their chance at freedom from the oppressive theocratic regime, citing a missed opportunity during the Islamic Republic’s 2009 presidential election.
Speaking exclusively with Breitbart News in a two-part interview this week, and ahead of the Persian New Year, Rep. Royce said “the blunder committed by the [Obama] administration with Iran was that we did not embrace the people of Iran at the time the election was stolen. Instead, the outreach was to the Ayatollah.” He explained that America’s interests are with empowering the people of Iran, instead of the theocratic regime that governs them with an iron fist.
He continued: “The United States at that time — our government, our State Department, every free agency — should have been reaching out and should have been assisting those who had gone to the streets because the election had been stolen from them. And we should have been building from that point on.”
Royce cited an exchange program in which he participated in 1985 in Eastern Europe, where radio broadcast systems were used to reach the masses and provide them with information banned from their regime, and which wound up boosting oppositional support up by 20 percent in a matter of weeks. He suggested the same be done in Iran.
“You could see the way the information was awakening people’s understanding of what that totalitarian regime was telling them. And today in Iran, you have a theocratic regime telling people propaganda which two-thirds of the people don’t believe.”
Royce pointed out that polling indicates 66 percent of Iran’s population is eager for “a Western-stye democracy without a theocracy.”
Iran has twice violated UN Security Council resolutions in recent weeks by firing off intercontinental ballistic missiles. Royce noted that during the time the now-historic Iran deal — the Joint-Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was being negotiated, U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman “said categorically that control over the ICBM program [and] ballistic missiles would be part of the agreement. The president himself gave those assurances.”
He said that the the talking points on the floor of the House of Representatives also included reference to the fact that Iran would be held accountable. However, the Obama administration has not begun to enforce any consequences for Iran’s clear violations.
While Royce told Breitbart News he does not believe Iran would attempt to sell its missiles to the rogue regime in North Korea, he expressed deep concern over the writing on the side of those Iranian missiles: “Words to the effect of ‘Israel does not have the right to exist,’ or ‘will cease to exist.’ And what also concerns me is that the chants of ‘Death to America,’ ‘Death to Israel’ are still being made by the Ayatollah.'”
In conclusion, Rep. Royce said:
…the bottom line is that America needs to understand that our interests are with the people of Iran, not a theocracy. Our interest is to see the people of Iran empowered. And we need to do that, both through expanding public diplomacy, reconstituting what worked in Eastern Europe and pushing back on the Iranian regime when it does things in violation of the international law.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.