- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamanei has announced that he would stand by any nation or group that chooses to stand up to Israel.
Press TV has interviewed Mohammad Marandi, Professor at the University of Tehran in Tehran to discuss statements made and the general message of the speech made by the leader of Iran with other guests in a news analysis. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Let's start with Iran's support and help for nations and groups that fight Israel. Ayatollah Khamanei said and I quote, "We will continue to support any nations, any groups fighting against the Zionist regime across the world and we are not afraid of declaring this. Iran will stand by and support any nation or group that chooses to stand up to Israel. What do you make of his comment?
I think it's identical to Iran's policy over apartheid South Africa, to make it easier to understand. After the revolution, this is the exact same policy that Iran pursued. Liberation organization against the apartheid South African regime needed the support of countries like Iran because western European and North American countries supported apartheid South Africa - in fact the ANC (African National Congress), which is now in power, was considered a terrorist organization.
And even the former president Mr. Nelson Mandela, who was in prison for almost three decades in South Africa - every time he had or wanted to visit the US he had to get special permission, until the middle of the second term of the Bush regime, to enter the country until it was finally removed, that particular problem that he had.
The Iranians support the Palestinian movement because Israel has the same status as apartheid South Africa in that it is a racist regime; it believes in a chosen people; it believes in racial hierarchy and it treats Palestinians whether it's Palestinians of so-called Israeli citizenship or the Palestinians that are in concentration camps, effectively, in Gaza and the West Bank as not just second-degree citizens, but in many cases effectively as dirt.
Our other guest Richard Millet from London made several statements in support of Israel and quoting Iran saying a few years back that they would wipe Israel off the map, interpreting that to mean a military attack on Israel. What is your response to those statements?
I think there is no justification at all for racial hierarchy in Israel. The Israelis obviously consider themselves to be a chosen people and this land was given to them thousands of years ago and that the Palestinian people have no right to the land that they've been on for thousands of years. It's obvious.
The Israelis have bombarded civilian targets in Gaza; they've launched wars on Lebanon; they have no problem with attacking civilian targets. Ayatollah Khamenei's statement was exactly the same as he had said before and it has nothing to do with the military annihilation of the Zionist entity, it is basically that Iran does not accept racism and therefore it does not accept an apartheid state in Palestine and therefore Israel must cease to exist as a political entity.
And the Palestinian people, millions of whom are in refugee camps as well as those in concentration camps effectively in Gaza - and this is not my language this is language used in UN reports as well, which, in the UN we all know is largely in the hands of Western countries. So the fact that Israel is a racist regime is obvious.
On the other hand, it is possible that Israel may attack Iran and that the US under no circumstances stand against Israel, but the reality on the ground is that Iran is a very powerful country and its response will be severe and punishing and the Israelis are no match for the Iranians.
Those, who in the past when Israel went to war with Hezbollah, scoffed at the Hezbollah people and said that Israel will overrun southern Lebanon in hours. After 33 days of war saw that Israel was humiliated. Iran is no comparison to Hezbollah, it is far more powerful and the Israelis more vulnerable.
In addition, the Middle East is in upheaval and if the Israelis make the foolish decision to attack Iran it would create uproar throughout the region and the whole region, the populations of the region would unify behind the Iranians and the pro-American regimes that are still left in place and the allies of Israel in the region, they will become much weaker and they may lose control over their authoritarian states.
One other point I'd like to add is with the regards to the Iranian economy. If one looks at the IMF report and the IMF is not a pro-Iranian organization, the Iranian economy is actually growing whereas the European economies are not. So, the economic situation in Iran is not nearly as bad as your guest in London would like to think despite the fact that the Americans and Europeans are imposing barbaric sanctions with the intention to hurt ordinary Iranians, which shows the extraordinary how far they are will to go to make ordinary people suffer.
So far they have failed; they have caused difficulties, but I think at the end of the day they are revealing the weakness of their Empire that is beginning to crumble and they will ultimately fail in bringing the Iranian people to their knees.
In response to these threats of oil embargo and war, Iran says it has its own threats, as the leader says, to impose it at the right time. What is your reaction on that? And, many including US presidential candidate Ron Paul that the position of these sanctions actually has been an act of war.
I think the speech was very much a speech from a position of strength. One of the important things that we have seen over the last few years is that Western countries, which have been virtually in full control of the region over the past few decades have imposed sanctions after sanctions against Iran and are imposing an embargo, which as you pointed out, is an act of war in the eyes of even US presidential candidates - yet they fail to succeed.
And I think this is very significant and very important for other countries and peoples in the region to see that the US and the Europeans despite all their attempts to make ordinary Iranians suffer; to bring Iran to its knees have failed utterly and that the Iranian economy is not only growing, but yesterday we saw another successful launch of a satellite into orbit, something that even very advanced countries like south Korea as far as I recall have failed to do up to now.
So, Iran is a much stronger country. If Iran was to capitulate, then that would be a sign of weakness. In fact, the reason why the Iranians are standing firm with regards to the nuclear program is because Iran is working within its rights as a sovereign country. It is obeying the rules of the NPT and there is absolutely no evidence despite all the rhetoric that Iran's nuclear program is anything but peaceful.
I would advise your viewers to go to a website called www.raceforiran.com , which has many articles on the topic of the Iranian nuclear program and US/Iran relations and I think it shows quite well the US and the Rhetoric in the West is basically being very dishonest when it comes to Iran and the nuclear program.
The issue is one of sovereignty and independence and that is one reason why the revolution took place in the first place. And if you look at polls carried out by Americans in Iran over the past few years the vast majority of Iranians support the nuclear program; they support the political orbit in Iran and the Israelis, by threatening the Iranians, create greater disgust and dislike for their regime with Iranians.
And Americans by supporting the Israelis are basically pushing a disastrous public relations operation forward. They are creating a sense of dislike and distaste for the American regime among Iranians and entrenching it and I think this is something that we are seeing throughout the region.
Just one final point I would like to add and that is the Islamic awakening is obviously to Iran's benefit. Regardless of the fate of Syria - and we have to keep in mind that according to polls carried out by Assad and the BBC, the Assad government has the support of the majority of the population, but the vast majority of Arab regimes are pro-American and if their dictatorships fall, obviously it will benefit the Islamic Republic of Iran.