PHOENIX, Feb. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Prominent Arizona officials joined former U.S. officials to discuss "Countering Islamic Fundamentalism, a Nuclear Armed Iran." The event was organized amid growing concerns over U.S. security challenges. Speakers in a packed ballroom of over 800 people pointed to the Iranian regime as the epicentre of Islamic extremism and called on the administration to support moderate opposition forces to confront it.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 14th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton and former White House Director of Public Liaison Linda Chavez joined Congressman Paul Gosar, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Adam Driggs, House Majority Whip David Livingston, Representative Rick Gray, and Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham.
In a video-taped message, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, John McCain, praised the Iranian-American Community of Arizona for organizing the event and highlighted the need for putting human rights at the center of U.S. policy towards Iran. Phoenix Vice Mayor Jim Waring made an opening welcome remark.
Mayor Giuliani said the terrorism emanating from Islamic fundamentalism is "connected by a common ideology ... and it's united by money and support from the regime of Iran."
"The MEK [Iran's main opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq] answers a question I am asked all the time. Where are the moderate Muslims? Where are the Muslims that stand up against terrorism? ... They're right here. That's the MEK," he emphasized, "They want an Iran that's built on the rule of law and they want an Iran that is non-nuclear. That's the alternative to the Islamic fundamentalist extremists. President Obama should embrace them."
General Shelton said, "Although ISIS has thoroughly dominated the headlines…Tehran is essentially the modern prototype of fundamentalist Islam, a perverted version of the great religion of course, predating ISIS, predating Al Qaeda and being responsible for the first major confrontation between the Islamic fundamentalism and the West during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis."
"The MEK is …paying the price because they are fighting for democratic rule and a more tolerant version of their faith," General Shelton added.
Attorney General Brnovich said that in order to counter Tehran's repressive tactics, "we should be supporting liberty and freedom." Congressman Gosar and Representative Rick Gray praised the Iranian people's continued struggle for freedom and democracy.
Senator Driggs noted, "There is an organized movement to replace a religious theocracy in Iran with a government that is freely elected, a government that guarantees basic human rights to her people, and I believe a government that would be a catalyst for change in the entire region." "It's MEK and the leaders of this great country that are going to fix this problem. We need to help them," Representative Livingston stressed.
Robert Graham said Tehran has "a culture and a leadership that understands two things, and that's force and fear. ... We have to stand up and push back in a way that's aggressive, that adopts force and fear, because there is a unified movement that is a groundswell that can topple governments."
Ms. Chavez concluded, "There is a moderate Islamic movement in the world, and it is headed up by a woman, Madame Maryam Rajavi who is president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.... It is a movement that deserves our support."
Other Arizona officials in attendance, included senators Kelli Ward, Nancy Barto, John Kavanagh, and Steve Pierce, representatives Doug Coleman, Mark Finchem, and Jay Lawrence, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, and Fountain Hills Mayor Linda Kavanagh.
SOURCE Iranian American Community of Arizona