NEWT GINGRICH, POSSIBLE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FIGURE, SPEAKS TO IRANIAN DISSIDENTS
Former Speaker of Newt Gingrich spoke at a rally organized by the National Council of the Iranian Resistance just two weeks before the beginning of the Republican National convention. Newt Gingrich who is on the short-list of candidates to be the 2016 Republican Vice President nominee alongside Donald Trump. Gingrich’s used his remarks to call for a more aggressive U.S policy toward Iran and condemn the policies of the Obama administration.
Gingrich began by noting, “We are in the middle of an election campaign in America and the nature of the Iranian dictatorship is a big key issue in that election. I personally am very clear about this, there are no moderates in the dictatorship, the dictatorship cannot be trusted, the agreement with it is insane, [and] giving money to the leading state sponsor of terrorism makes no sense.” Gingrich. In using terms phrases like “absolutely insane”, Gingrich seemed to be consciously adopting the rhetorical devices of presumptive Republican nominee of Donald Trump.
Gingrich argued that the Iranian regime had “methodically used the U.S to fund their regime” in reference to Iran’s new found access to international markets following the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran over the nuclear deal. Gingrich addressed the crowd directly at one point “What you are doing here by brining all these delegations from all around the world…..I want each of you to know is an important act of citizenship and you are part of history and you are winning the argument.“ However, under a presidential administration led by Donald Trump presidency hosting such a gathering of Iranian and Syrian opposition figures in the United States would be nary impossible. Trump has at various times in his campaign declared that as president he would ban Syrians and Muslims from entry into the United States. The annual rally to Free Iran has been going on for over a decade and organizers suggested that over 80,000 attended this year.
Gingrich shared the stage with two Former American Ambassadors to the United Nations: Bill Richardson appointed by President Bill Clinton and John Bolton appointed under President George W. Bush. While Richardson praised the Iranian opposition, Bolton offered his own strong condemnation of the Iran deal and trading with Iran.
Bolton is a long-time friend of Gingrich and told reporters he’d be “happy” to see Gingrich play any role in a Trump administration. Bolton dismissed Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy credentials. Bolton offered his services to the Trump campaign and stated: “I have no trouble saying that I am going to vote for Donald Trump if you simply look at one difference between him and Clinton, Trump has said ambiguously and unwaveringly he wants to rebuild the American military.”
After leaving the stage Gingrich waded past western reporters and gave only a single interview (to an Iranian opposition outlet) before growing increasingly annoyed by the media attention. Gingrich made a hasty retreat out a side door as other journalists pressed him with questions.
As Gingrich’s vehicle pulled away from the exhibition, former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean opened his speech by noting there were more people at the event than “a Donald Trump rally” a line that drew laughter from the large crowd.