"We must continue to support the Iranian people as they fight for a freer and more democratic Iran in any way that we can," Pompeo told attendees at the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) "Free Iran World Summit." "There is so much good work that American civil society can do to further this goal. It is work that your organization is actively engaged in – keep up the fight."
Pompeo was one of a few speakers from both wings, including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Cory Booker, D-N.J., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., along with politicians from Europe.
Booker praised Iranian-American donations to U.S. society and touted Iranians who defied "the authoritarian Iranian regime" in protests and social movements.
"Their desire for democracy and justice outweighed their fear of being injured or taken to jail," he said, saying he was confident that one day the world would see a "free and open" Iran.
The principally virtual event included hundreds of Iranian activists emerging from inside Iran at key monuments, their faces shaded, to show the extended opposition within Iran.
The summit comes just weeks after hardline Ebrahim Raisi acquired the country’s presidential election amid mass boycotts of the process and claims of rigging by the regime. Raisi has been sanctioned by the U.S. for his engagement in human rights abuses -- and was linked to the mass execution of dissidents in the 1980s.
NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi said that the forcing of Raisi into power was a sign of the regime’s vulnerability and an attempt to keep power against democratic uprisings.
"But they have actually dug their own graves," she said. "They are like a scorpion that stings itself after being surrounded by flames. Only the regime’s fear of the uprisings and the supreme leader’s political demise can explain Raisi’s taking office."
The regime was exhausted by a range of protests, including over its handling of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic, at home and built tension by U.S. foreign policy under the Trump administration. The U.S. left the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed waves of sanctions under a "maximum pressure" campaign against the regime.
Pompeo used his words to rebuke forces in Washington to re-engage with Iran and re-enter the Iran nuclear deal -- and warned against attempts to fund the Iranians as part of an agreement.
"We cannot shower the Ayatollah with money and economic benefits in the hopes that he won’t use it to inflict terror," Pompeo said. "This thinking is foolish, dangerous, and backward."