United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Report: Nuclear Deal Could Help US Position

             A nuclear deal with Iran could increase American leverage in the Middle East, according to a new report by top former U.S. officials. The authors warn that Washington may need to cooperate with “unusual bedfellows,” including Tehran, to counter the rise of the Islamic State and other new threats. But U.S. capacity to play a leading role in the region might be enhanced by such new relationships. The Iran Project report, released September 17, reflects the views of 31 former U.S. ambassadors, generals, senior officials and national security experts including former U.N. ambassador Thomas Pickering and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. The following are excerpts from the executive summary.

 
             The nuclear issue has loomed so large for so long that it has heavily influenced how many see Iran. Resolving this problem would settle a matter important in its own right and open up opportunities for U.S. policy.
 
             A comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program will be a catalyst for change in the ever-turbulent Middle East. The United States has vital national interests at stake throughout the region and will need to develop strategies to face the latest threats to its security. This may involve new forms of cooperation—even with unusual bedfellows. Each player involved will react differently to a nuclear accord, which will in turn affect overlapping and diverging interests with Iran.
 
             This report has been prepared amid events that suggest a tectonic shift in the Middle East. The successes of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threaten the unity of Iraq, exacerbate violence in Syria, and compound the already grave humanitarian crisis in the region. The severe unrest and current violence against Kurds in Iraq has increased pressure to establish a separate state of Kurdistan and has further complicated Turkey’s relations with Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The rise of ISIS has reinforced Iran’s role in support of the government in Iraq and raises the possibility of U.S.–Iran cooperation in stabilizing Iraq even before a nuclear agreement is signed. The intensification of Shi’ite–Sunni violence underlines the importance for the United States not siding with, nor appearing to side with, either party in this intensifying sectarian conflict. Additionally, as the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, it will need regional partners (such as Iran) to strengthen that country against a violent future.
 
             We do not suggest that a nuclear agreement is the only event that will spark new relationships in the Middle East. Nor are we arguing that it is essential to reach agreement in order that discussions can take place with Iran on other vital regional problems. We do believe, however, that there is a strong link between settling the nuclear standoff and America’s ability to play an effective role in a rapidly changing Middle East, and that a nuclear agreement will help unlock the door to new options.
 
             The United States is the only outside power with the interest, leverage, and capacity to play a leading role in the region. It stands to reap more benefit than any other outside power from new patterns of cooperation. It will also bear the heaviest burdens if it contributes unwittingly to further deterioration of this troubled area because it misunderstood or did not appreciate a fresh dynamic.
 
             A tough-minded assessment of priorities is more important than ever. A comprehensive nuclear agreement would enable the United States to perceive those priorities without every lens being colored by that single issue. Talking with Iran and coordinating strategies with it against ISIS are critical steps to making progress. While it is clear that discussions alone will not bring about agreement on common action, the opportunity to work through differences diplomatically could help in understanding whether other cooperative efforts are possible in the region. Such changes in the hostile relationship between the United States and Iran would unfold over several years and would depend on how Iran adjusts as it slowly emerges from its present status as an international pariah. Should it fail to honor its obligations under a nuclear accord, a quite different scenario would arise.
 
             The talks between Iran and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) produced an important interim agreement, the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), in November 2013. Under the terms of the JPOA, Iran has taken significant steps to interrupt the advance of its nuclear program, has complied with its commitments to reduce stockpiles of enriched uranium, and is now poised to grant greatly increased access and monitoring for many years ahead. Agreement to strict long-term limits to its nuclear activities and intrusive inspections would clarify that Iran is serious. Moreover, a substantial period of more open engagement with the world would increase Tehran’s economic and political stake in upholding the agreement.
 
             If the leaders of the United States and Iran are prepared to take on their domestic political opponents’ opposition to the agreement now taking shape, then their governments can turn to the broader agenda of regional issues. Failure to sign an accord could have dangerous consequences: Iran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear weapon, a greatly reduced chance of defeating major threats elsewhere in the region, and even war.
 
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Key Quotes from Earlier U.N. Speeches

           U.N. General Assembly openings have been a forum for some of the most dramatic exchanges between Iran and the international community. Several of Iran's top leaders have used the venue to criticize the world order and the United States. But President Mohammad Khatami's 1998 call for a "dialogue among nations" was a notable exception. President Rouhani is scheduled to speak the week of September 21. The following are excerpts from speeches by top Iranian leaders from the U.N. General Assembly opening going back to 1987.

 
1987: President Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
            “Today after some seven years of war it is quite clear to all that the invasion of Iran by the Iraqi army on Sept. 22, 1980, 19 months after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, was in fact aimed at defeating the revolution and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic… If an aggressor is once punished for its aggression by the international family of nations, the aggressor instinct will be suppressed for many years to come... Why should we discard the experience of Nuremberg?
            “The foundations of the security supported by such a Security Council is nothing but a nice-looking house of cards.
            “Yesterday, United States battleships attacked Iran-Ajr, an Iranian merchant ship. They murdered four and wounded three people. The ship has been seized and its crew have been detained. American television stations announced yesterday that the United States battleships fired at this ship while it was laying mines in the waters, and thereby they, as usual, taught a pack of lies to the American people.
            “A big chapter of our history, a very bitter, bloody and evil chapter, is saturated with American enmities and grudging hostilities toward our nation.
            “The system of world domination makes decisions for the whole world ... yesterday it was Hiroshima and today the president of the United States is proud of the horrendous behavior of his predecessors and even argues that if they did not kill those several thousand, more people would have been killed throughout the world.”
 
1989: Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati
(President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani never spoke at the U.N. General Assembly)
            “The world-domineering powers use cultural domination - a prelude to other forms of domination - to gain political influence and to alienate the nations of the third world from their social and cultural values. Unfortunately, nations that desire to return to their own cultural identity are subjected to severe attacks by the domineering Powers.
            “Eight years of global indifference to the use of chemical weapons against the Islamic Republic of Iran has encouraged some countries such as Iraq to build the largest arsenals of chemical and biological weapons and to improve them qualitatively and quantitatively.
            “The people of Palestine continue to resist valiantly and resolutely in the face of the aggressive and criminal practices of the Qods [Jerusalem]-occupier regime, which seeks brutally to suppress the uprising… If the international community seeks to find a solution to this crisis and to bring about peace and security in the Middle East, it should realize that the only viable remedy lies in the full restoration of the rights of Palestinians, or, in other words, the liberation of the occupied territories and the establishment of an independent state in the territory of Palestine.”
 
1992: Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati
            “It is highly desirable that the next millennium be nuclear-free, but the achievement of that objective depends upon the following: an undertaking by all nuclear-weapon states to destroy all nuclear weapons in their territory or under their jurisdiction or control; a new pledge by all states not to acquire or proliferate nuclear weapons and not to add to their existing stocks; and a genuine commitment to enhanced cooperation in technology for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
            “My country, as the initiator of the proposal for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, is fully prepared to participate actively in any constructive and comprehensive initiative in this field.”
 
1993: Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati
            “The failure of the Security Council squarely to face the Palestinian crisis and the constant aggressions against the Palestinian people, Lebanon and Syria, not to mention its intentional failure to enforce its own resolutions, are a sad illustration of the prevailing preference of political interests over peace, security, international law and equity.”
 
1996: Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati
            “The misguided propaganda waged to distort the image of Islam, and the unprecedented intolerance exhibited against the tide of Islamic resurgence among Islamic nations and States indicate a futile campaign to suppress this great divine religion of justice and tolerance, and of defiance against oppression, tyranny and domination. The claimants of world leadership have yet to realize that a people’s religious devotion is intertwined with its very existence, and will only draw more strength and resilience in the face of campaigns of external pressure and negative propaganda. The progressive march of the Islamic world, which benefits from the rich heritage of Islamic culture, history and civilization, cannot be halted. Thus this significant and important segment of humanity will certainly occupy an increasingly prominent role in the shaping of the future world order.
            “The irreconcilability of totalitarianism with the rule of law has had dangerous manifestations on the international scene. The passing and signing of legislation to allocate money for subversive and terrorist activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran is the most dangerous manifestation of this lawlessness, which is no longer confined to the secrecy of intelligence services but has been recklessly made into law by the United States Congress. This law and similar unlawful behavior, including the infamous decision of the United States Supreme Court approving kidnapping by the United States Government, represent a very dangerous trend. They illustrate a growing tendency to institutionalize and even legalize illegality and disregard for international obligations.
            “A similar pattern of behavior that has been manifested in the past several years by the United States Government is the self-arrogation of the right to legislate for the international community by attempting to apply its domestic legislation beyond its borders. Recent unilateral sanctions enacted by the United States against the trading partners of a number of countries not only constitute a grave breach of various norms and principles of international law and many resolutions of this Assembly and other international forums as well as blatant interference in the internal and external affairs of other states, but, indeed, point to a very dangerous trend, which undermines the very foundations of contemporary inter-state relations.”
 
1998: President Mohammad Khatami
            “The fantasy of a unipolar world ruled by a single super-power is but an illusion, indicating the failure of its holders to keep pace with history.  And, I am confident, that powerful nations, such as the American people, will not accept that their good name, potentials and national prestige be exploited for the advancement of the dream of a uni-polar world by the politicians, motivated by the short-sighted material and factional  interests of a few.  The evolution of public opinion in the West in support of peaceful relations on the basis of mutual respect testifies to this assertion.
            “Allow me to speak here as a man from the East, the origin of brilliant civilizations and the birth place of Divine Prophets - - Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (peace be upon them all). I come from the noble land of Iran, representing a great and renowned nation, famous for its age old civilization as well as its distinguished contribution to the founding and expansion of the Islamic civilization; a nation that has survived the strong winds of despotism, reactionism and submission, relying on its cultural and human wealth; a nation which pioneered in the East the establishment of civil society and constitutional government in the course of its contemporary history, even though as a result of foreign interference and domestic deficiencies, at times it may have faltered in its course; a nation which has been at the forefront of the struggle for independence and against colonialism, though its national movement was subverted by a foreign- orchestrated coup.  And, a nation which carries the torch of its popular revolution, not won by force of arms or a coup, but by dethroning of the regime of coup d'etat through the power of "word" and "enlightenment".  In the course of its new experience, our nation has endured eight years of an imposed war, pressure, sanctions and various allegations.  It has also fallen victim to terrorism, this ominous and sinister phenomenon of the twentieth century.
            “I would like to propose, in the name of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that the United Nations, as a first step, designate the year 2001 as the "Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations," with the earnest hope that through such a dialogue, the realization of universal justice and liberty may be initiated.
            “Among the worthiest achievements of this century is the acceptance of the necessity and significance of dialogue and rejection of force, promotion of understanding in cultural, economic and political fields, and strengthening of the foundations of liberty, justice and human rights.  Establishment and enhancement of civility, whether at national or international level, is contingent upon dialogue among societies and civilizations representing various views, inclinations and approaches.  If humanity at the threshold of the new century and millennium devotes all efforts to institutionalize dialogue, replacing hostility and confrontation with discourse and understanding, it would leave an invaluable legacy for the benefit of the future generations.”
 
2000: Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
            “The menace of drug abuse and trafficking continues to take a heavy social, economic and political toll. It particularly afflicts the youth, who form the future. Combating drug trafficking is a costly exercise, and requires international political will and serious burden sharing. Provision of meaningful financial resources and modern equipment by target countries can enable transit countries, such as ours, to combat the problem at a fraction of the cost.
            “The Islamic Republic of Iran has done more than its share in preventing transit, seizing more than 70% of narcotics seized globally. The costs in terms of financial burden and more importantly human sacrifice are unbearable. More than 2,900 Iranian drug enforcement personnel have been martyred in the fight against drug traffickers. We appreciate the cooperation and support extended to Iran by UNDCP in this regard, although its limited resources cannot cover the programs it wants and needs to implement. It is important to underline that in the absence of meaningful bi-lateral and multi-lateral assistance, the Islamic Republic of Iran will have to allocate most resources to combating domestic consumption and will not be able to sustain its fight against drug trafficking with the same vigor and energy.”
 
2005: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “If some, relying on their superior military and economic might, attempt to expand their rights and privileges, they will be performing a great disservice to the cause of peace and in fact will fuel the arms race and spread insecurity, fear and deception. If global trends continue to serve the interests of small influential groups, even the interests of the citizens of powerful countries will be jeopardized — as was seen in the recent crises and the even natural disaster such as the recent tragic hurricane.
            “After September 11, a particular radical group was accused of terrorist activities -- although it was never explained how such huge intelligence gathering and security organizations failed to prevent such an extensive and well planned operation. Why powers that, not so long ago, were supporting the activities of such groups in Afghanistan — and thus portraying themselves as supporters of human rights and the Afghan people — have over night turned into their most fierce critic?
           “How can one talk about human rights and at the same time blatantly deny many the inalienable right to have access to science and technology with applications in medicine, industry and energy and through force and intimidation hinder their progress and development? Can nations be deprived of scientific and technological progress through the threat of use of force and based on mere allegations of possibility of military diversion? We believe that all countries and nations are entitled to technological and scientific advancement in all fields, particularly the peaceful technology to produce nuclear fuel. Such access can not be restricted to a few, depriving most nations and by establishing economic monopolies, use them as an instrument to expand their domination.”
 
2006: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “Occupation of countries, including Iraq, has continued for the last three years. Not a day goes by without hundreds of people getting killed in cold blood. The occupiers are incapable of establishing security in Iraq. Despite the establishment of the lawful Government and National Assembly of Iraq, there are covert and overt efforts to heighten insecurity, magnify and aggravate differences within Iraqi society, and instigate civil strife.
            “There is no indication that the occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability. Numerous terrorists were apprehended by the Government of Iraq, only to be let loose under various pretexts by the occupiers.
            “When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how then can this Council fulfill its responsibilities?
            “All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors. Why then are there objections to our legally recognized rights? Which governments object to these rights? Governments that themselves benefit from nuclear energy and the fuel cycle. Some of them have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends including the production of nuclear bombs, and some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity.”
 
2007: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “The precious existence of women as the manifestation of divine beauty and as the peak of kindness, affection, and purity has been the target of heavy exploitation in recent decades by the holders of power and the owners of media and wealth.”
            “The victors of the [second world] war drew the roadmap for global domination and formulated their policies not on the basis of justice but for ensuring the interests of the victors over the vanquished nations. Therefore mechanisms arising from this approach and related policies have not been capable of finding just solutions for global problems since 60 years ago.
            “Some big powers still behave like the victors of the World War and regard other states and nations, even those that had nothing to do with the war, as the vanquished, and humiliate other nations and demand extortion from a condescending position similar to that of the master/servant relationship of the medieval ages.
            “They believe that they should have more rights than others and also are not accountable to any international organization.
            “The presence of some monopolistic powers has prevented the Security Council from performing its main duty which is the maintenance of international peace and security based on justice. The credibility of the Council has been tarnished and its efficacy in defending the rights of UN member states has been undermined. Many nations have lost their confidence in the Council.
            “Some other mechanisms, such as the monetary and banking mechanisms, are in the same undesirable situation and have been turned into tools for the imposition of the wishes of some powers on other nations. It is evident that these mechanisms are not capable of responding to current needs and solving challenges and establishing fair and sustainable relations.”
 
2008: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “In Palestine, 60 years of carnage and invasion is still ongoing at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists. They have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people’s land by displacing, detaining, and killing the true owners of that land. With advance notice, they invade, assassinate, and maintain food and medicine blockades, while some hegemonic and bullying powers support them. The Security Council cannot do anything and sometimes, under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murderers. It is natural that some U.N. resolutions that have addressed the plight of the Palestinian people have been relegated to the archives unnoticed.
            “With regard to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, despite the inalienable right of all nations including the Iranian nation, in producing nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, and despite such facts as the transparency of all Iranian activities and our country’s full cooperation with the inspectors of the IAEA and the Agency’s repeated confirmation of the fact that Iran’s activities are peaceful, a few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the way of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Iranian nation by exerting political and economic pressures against Iran, and also through threatening and pressuring the IAEA. These are the same powers that produce new generations of lethal nuclear arms and possess stockpiles of nuclear weapons that no international organization is monitoring; and, the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were perpetrated by one of them.
            “Today, the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters.... [The] American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders. Today, the thought of hegemony quickly becomes a demerit.”
 
2009: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “It is not acceptable that the United Nations and the Security Council, whose decisions should represent all nations and governments by the application of the most democratic methods in their decision making processes, popular methods of decision making, be dominated by a few governments and serve their interests. In a world where cultures, thoughts and public opinions should be the determining factors, the continuation of the present situation is impossible, and fundamental changes seem to be unavoidable. We seek to establish a new system a New World System.
            “The engine of unbridled capitalism with its unfair system of thought has reached the end of [the] road and is unable to move. The era of capitalist thinking and imposition of one's thoughts on the international community, intended to dominate the world in the name of globalization and the age of setting up empires, is over." 
 
2010: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “Some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the [9/11] attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view.
           “Nuclear energy is clean and cheap and a heavenly gift which is amongst the most suitable alternatives to cut the pollution emanating from fossil fuels… The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon and which must totally be eliminated… not only has nuclear disarmament not been realized but also nuclear bombs have been proliferated in some regions, including by the occupying and intimidating Zionist regime.
           “In all these cases the United Nations has been unable to take any effective course of action. Unfortunately, in the decade proclaimed as the “International Decade for the Culture of Peace” hundreds of thousands were killed and injured as a result of war, aggression and occupation, and hostilities and antagonism increased.
           “The cause of the United Nation’s ineptitude is in its unjust structure. Major power is monopolized in the Security Council due to the veto privilege, and the main pillar of the organization, namely the General Assembly, is marginalized.
           “The veto privilege should be revoked and the General Assembly should be the highest body and the Secretary-General should be the most independent official and all his positions and activities should be taken with the approval of the General Assembly and should be directed towards promoting justice and eliminating discrimination.”
 
2011: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
           “It is as lucid as daylight that the same slave masters and colonial power that once instigated the two world wars have caused widespread misery and disorder with far-reaching effects across the globe since then.
            “Do these arrogant powers really have the competence and ability to run or govern the world? Can the flower of democracy blossom from NATO's missiles, bombs and guns?
            “If some European countries still use the Holocaust, after six decades, as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists, should it not be an obligation upon the slave masters or colonial powers to pay reparations to the affected nations?
            “They [arrogant powers] proclaim themselves as the indisputable custodians of all governments and nations through intimidation, recourse to threat and force, and abuse the international mechanisms. They simply break all the internationally recognized regulations.
            “They insist on imposing their lifestyle and beliefs on others. They officially support racism. They weaken countries through military intervention, and destroy their infrastructures, in order to plunder their resources by making them all the more dependent.
            “They sow the seeds of hate and hostility among nations and people of different pursuits, in order to prevent them from fulfilling their goals of development and progress.
            “Last year, when the need to form a fact-finding team to undertake a thorough investigation concerning the hidden elements involved in September 11 incident was brought up; an idea also endorsed by all independent governments and nations as well as by the majority in the United States, my country and myself came under pressure and threat by the government of the United States. Instead of assigning a fact-finding team, they killed the main perpetrator [Osama bin Ladin] and threw his body into the sea.
            “A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet.
            “He will come alongside with Jesus Christ to lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination, and promote knowledge, peace, justice freedom and love across the world. He will present to every single individual all the beauties of the world and all good things which bring happiness for humankind.”
 
2012: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “The current abysmal situation of the world and bitter incidents of history are due mainly to the wrong management of the world and the self-proclaimed centers of power who have entrusted themselves to the Devil.”
            “Policies of the world's main centers of power are based on the principles of domination and the conquering of others. These centers only seek supremacy, and are not in favor of peace and definitely not at the service of their nations.
            “Are we to believe that those who spend hundreds of millions of dollars on election campaigns have the interests of the people of the world at their hearts?
            “Despite what big political parties claim in the capitalistic countries, the money that goes into election campaigns is usually nothing but an investment.
            “The will and the views of the masses have the least impact and influence on the big decisions especially those made about the major domestic and foreign policies. Their voices are not heard even if they constitute 99% of their societies.
            “Fortunately, we are now at a historic juncture. On one hand, Marxism is no longer around and is practically eliminated from the management systems, and on the other, capitalism is bogged down in a self-made quagmire. It has indeed reached a deadlock and does not seem to be able to come up with any noteworthy solution to the various economic, political, security and cultural problems of the world.”
 
 2013: President Hassan Rouhani
             “The recent elections in Iran represent a clear, living example of the wise choice of hope, rationality and moderation by the great people of Iran. The realization of democracy consistent with religion and the peaceful transfer of executive power manifested that Iran is the anchor of stability in an otherwise ocean of regional instabilities.
             “Nowhere in the world has violence been so deadly and destructive as in North Africa and West Asia. Military intervention in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein's imposed war against Iran, occupation of Kuwait, military interventions against Iraq, brutal repression of the Palestinian people, assassination of common people and political figures in Iran, and terrorist bombings in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon are examples of violence in this region in the last three decades.
             “The human tragedy in Syria represents a painful example of catastrophic spread of violence and extremism in our region.
             “Terrorism and the killing of innocent people represent the ultimate inhumanity of extremism and violence. Terrorism is a violent scourge and knows no country or national borders. But, the violence and extreme actions such as the use of drones against innocent people in the name of combating terrorism should also be condemned. Here, I should also say a word about the criminal assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. For what crimes have they been assassinated? The United Nations and the Security Council should answer the question: have the perpetrators been condemned?
             “Unjust sanctions, as manifestation of structural violence, are intrinsically inhumane and against peace. And contrary to the claims of those who pursue and impose them, it is not the states and the political elite that are targeted, but rather, it is the common people who are victimized by these sanctions.
             “We defend peace based on democracy and the ballot box everywhere, including in Syria, Bahrain, and other countries in the region, and believe that there are no violent solutions to world crises.
             “Iran's nuclear program - and for that matter, that of all other countries – must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes. I declare here, openly and unambiguously, that, notwithstanding the positions of others, this has been, and will always be, the objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nuclear weapon and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions. Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program.
             “In this context, the Islamic Republic of Iran, insisting on the implementation of its rights and the imperative of international respect and cooperation in this exercise, is prepared to engage immediately in time-bound and result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties with full transparency.
             “Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries based on mutual respect and common interest, and within the same framework does not seek to increase tensions with the United States. I listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama today at the General Assembly. Commensurate with the political will of the leadership in the United States and hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups, we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences. To this end, equal footing, mutual respect, and the recognized principles of international law should govern the interactions. Of course, we expect to hear a consistent voice from Washington.
             “In recent years, a dominant voice has been repeatedly heard: "The military option is on the table." Against the backdrop of this illegal and ineffective contention, let me say loud and clear that "peace is within reach." So, in the name of the Islamic Republic of Iran I propose, as a starting step, the consideration by the United Nations of the project: "the World Against Violence and Extremism." (WAVE) Let us all join this "WAVE." I invite all states, international organizations and civil institutions to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction. We should start thinking about "Coalition for Enduing Peace" all across the globe instead of the ineffective "Coalitions for War" in various parts of the world.
 
 

Survey: Iranians Ready for Nuclear Deal

             A new survey found that the majority of Iranians would support a nuclear deal that includes key requirements of the world’s six major powers. Some 79 percent of Iranians are open to an agreement in which Iran pledges to never produce nuclear weapons. But 70 percent of Iranians reject the supposed demand of P5+1 countries for Tehran to dismantle half of its centrifuges. “While the Iranian public is ready to accept taking some confidence building steps, there are obviously some clear limits. President Rouhani is likely to face a political backlash if he goes farther than the public is ready to support,” warned Ebrahim Mohseni, a Senior Analyst at the University of Tehran's Center for Public Opinion Research.

             The survey questions also covered public attitudes toward President Hassan Rouhani, U.S.-Iran cooperation on ISIS, perceptions of U.S. motivations and the economy.  The telephone poll of 1,037 Iranians was conducted in July 2014 by the University of Tehran's Center for Public Opinion Research working in conjunction with the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland. The following graphics are excerpts from the report.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Iran's Leaders on Iraq Crisis and ISIS

             Iran’s policy on Iraq has evolved as the Islamic State (IS) has taken more territory since June. President Hassan Rouhani and one his advisors initially suggested Tehran could cooperate with Washington on countering IS militants. But senior military, political and religious leaders, including Rouhani, have increasingly criticized Western responses to the crisis and blamed U.S. policies for the emergence of IS. “It is naive to think that simply conducting air strikes will solve the terrorist problem,” Rouhani warned in September, likely referring to U.S. actions against IS.
              Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out cooperation with Washington on IS. He has also blamed the United States, along with Sunni Gulf states, for allowing extremist groups to flourish in the region. “The real fight is between those who want to bring back a U.S. presence and those who want Iraqi independence,” Khamenei said on June 22.  The supreme leader has questioned Washington's motives for fighting IS. The following tweet is from a statement released on September 15, the day 20 representatives from Western and Middle Eastern countries met in Paris to form an anti-IS coalition.  
            Iran was not invited to be part of the coalition. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that Tehran does have a role to play in countering ISIS in remarks at U.N. headquarters on September 19. 
            Iran remains a stalwart supporter of Iraq’s central government and opposes intervention by outside powers. "The best way of fighting IS and terrorism in the region is to help and strengthen the Iraqi and Syrian governments,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told a visiting French lawmaker in Tehran. Iran has sent advisers to Baghdad and to Iraqi Kurdistan but has denied reports that it has sent troops.
            Tehran’s endorsement of Haidar al Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister suggests that Iran recognizes that former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government may have been a factor that led to the current crisis.
"As the new prime minister is elected, God willing, problems will be solved and the government will give a good lesson to terrorists who seek sedition in Iraq,” he told Iranian diplomats in August. Abadi hails from al Maliki’s Islamic Da’wa Party and also is a Shiite. But Maliki's government had alienated both Sunnis and Kurds.
            The following are excerpted remarks by Iranian leaders on Abadi’s nomination and U.S. airstrikes with generic comments on the Iraqi crisis since June.
 
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
 
      “What has happened in Iraq which broke the backbone of ISIS was not done by Americans but by the Iraqi people and Army. Both ISIS and Americans know this well.
       “We are proud that the US has become disappointed at Iran not having a part in a collective wrongdoing.
      “Right from the start, the United States asked through its ambassador in Iraq whether we could cooperate against ISIS. I said no, because they have dirty hands.
      “How can it be possible to cooperate with the United States in such conditions?
           “Secretary of State [John Kerry] personally asked [his Iranian counterpart] Mohammad Javad Zarif and he rejected the request.
           “Even the American deputy foreign minister, who is a woman and everyone knows her, had repeated this request in a meeting with Mr. Araghchi again. But Mr. Araghchi also rejected her request.”
           Washington wants a “pretext to do in Iraq and Syria what it already does in Pakistan -- bomb anywhere without authorization.”
           Sept. 15, 2014 in a statement published online and by the press
     
           “We are strongly against the interference of the US and others in Iraq’s internal affairs and do not approve of it, because we believe that the Iraqi government, nation and religious authority are capable of ending this sedition and will end it, God willing.
           “The United States is dissatisfied with the result of elections in Iraq and they want to deprive the Iraqi people of their achievement of a democratic system, which they achieved without U.S. interference.”
           “What is happening in Iraq is not a war between Shiites and Sunnis. Arrogant powers want to use the remnants of Saddam’s regime and takfiri [ISIS] extremists to deprive Iraq of stability and tranquility.”

           June 22, 2014 at a meeting with judiciary officials

 

President Hassan Rouhani
 
      “Americans are very aware that the country that prevented the [Baghdad] government from falling was Iran. Iran’s role has been undeniable.”
      “Can countries [carry out this effort] without cooperation and coordination and succeed? Is a coalition needed? If so, who is best suited to lead? …Is it possible [to defeat extremism] without [addressing root causes and] without knowing the region very well?”
      “Countries in the region are much more qualified to lead [the anti-ISIS] efforts than those who are outside and don’t know the region as well.”
            “The Americans are free [to make their own] judgment, but people are aware that the strongest government that has taken the strongest fight against terrorism has been Iran.
            “Those who played a role in creating these terrorists … how can these same countries today say they want to fight these terrorists?”
            This policy is “clearly nebulous and ambiguous at best. I can assure you this will not succeed in the end. This is a very confusing behavior and policy.”
            “Bombarding a country has a legal process. It should take place within the framework of the U.N., or that country's leaders should have asked for it to be carried out officially and formally.”
            “[It’s not] legal, particularly without the authority of the government.”
            If “we want to bring an end to terrorist activities in Syria … you cannot reach that objective without a central government. First, we must drive out the terrorists.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 at a breakfast meeting with journalists (via Lobe LogAPReuters,Bloomberg, and Al-Monitor)
 
            The U.S.-led coalition against IS is “ridiculous.”
            “Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?
            “If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice? Is it possible to reach a big goal without that? In all regional and international issues, the victorious one is the one who is ready to do sacrifice.
            “Maybe it is necessary for airstrikes in some conditions and some circumstances. However, air strikes should take place with the permission of the people of that country and the government of that country.
            “They [IS militants] want to kill humanity. And from the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity. And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people in fact is a matter of shame for them and it's the matter of concern and sorrow for humanity and all the mankind."
             “When we say the red line we mean the red line. It means we will not allow Baghdad to be occupied by the terrorists or the religious sites such as Karbala or Najaf be occupied by the terrorists.”
            Sept. 16, 2014 in an interview with NBC News
 
            “It is naive to think that simply conducting air strikes will solve the terrorist problem. [This strategy] does not address the complexity of the issue. In order to understand the culture of violence that is terrorism, there has to be an understanding of the political and social issues of the region.”
      Sept. 11, 2014 in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin according to the press (translation via Brookings)
     
      “The Islamic Republic will not tolerate violence and terror as foreign-backed takfiri militants wreak havoc in northern Iraq.
            “As the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will not tolerate the [acts of] violence and terror and we fight violence and terrorism in the region and in the world.
            “We all should practically and verbally confront terrorist groups. We can think about it [cooperation with the United States] if we see America starts confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq or elsewhere.
            “Iran has never dispatched any forces to Iraq and it is very unlikely it will ever happen.”
            June 14, 2014 during a press conference
 
            “Regarding the holy Shia shines in Karbala, Najaf, Khadhimiya and Samarra, we announce to the killers and terrorists that the big Iranian nation will not hesitate to protect holy shrines.
            “These terrorist groups, and those that fund them, both in the region and in the international arena, are nothing, and hopefully they will be put in their own place.”
            June 18, 2014 in a speech to a crowd in Lorestan province
 
            “I advise Muslim countries that support the terrorists with their petrodollars to stop.
            “Tomorrow you will be targeted... by these savage terrorists. Wash your hands of killing and the killing of Muslims.
            “For centuries, Shiites and Sunnis have lived alongside each other in Iran, Iraq, the Levant, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf and North Africa...in peaceful coexistence.”
            June 22, 2014, according to press
 
            “If the Iraqi government wants help, we will study it; of course no demand has yet been raised until today but we are ready for help within the framework of the international laws and at the request of the Iraqi nation.
            “Of course, we should know that help and assistance is one issue, and interference and entrance [into the battlefield] is another. If the Iraqi government demands us we will help them, but the entrance of the Iranian troops [onto the scene of battles in Iraq] has never been considered.
            “Since the onset of its establishment, the Islamic Republic has never taken such measures and we have never sent our troops to another country for operations. Of course, we will provide countries with our consultative views.”
            June 24, 2014, according to press
 

            “Unfortunately, we face two festering tumors in this region and across the Muslim world. One tumor has always caused distress to the Palestinians and Muslims and these days it is secreting and wreaking havoc on the land of olive [trees]. The other festering tumor which is agonizing the Muslims these days is a campaign launched under the name of Islam, religion, caliphate and caliphacy and has undertaken the murder and killing of Muslims in the region. All studies indicate that both tumors have roots at the same point.

            July 28, 2014 in a meeting with Iranian officials and foreign diplomats
 
 
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
             “It is interesting and it is important for all of us to take that reality in perspective while we address various issues and as Iran, which has been a responsible power in the region. We have looked at the situation around us from that perspective, and that is why we've played a central role in dealing with ISIS. I wouldn't call it Islamic State, because it's neither Islamic, as President Obama rightly pointed out, nor a state. It's a terrorist organization, a sophisticated terrorist organization that has come to being because of a number of reasons. But Iran has taken a leading role in that.
             “And while Iran was not invited to Paris, which I would call a coalition of repenters, because most participants in that meeting in one form or another provided support to ISIS in the course of its creation and upbringing and expansion, actually at the end of the day, creating a Frankenstein that came to haunt its creators.
             “But Iran has been, as even attested to by President Barzani of the Iraqi Kurdish region, the first that came to the aid of the Iraqis in dealing with that problem. We don't hesitate in providing support to our friends, to deal with this menace. We believe that we need to deal with this menace. This is not a threat against a singular community, nor a threat against a singular region. It was not confined to Syria, nor will it be confined to Iraq. It's a global threat.
             “There are thousands of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria. And they come from all over the world. And that is why they have very little mercy for the people they occupy and they rule over. It's a very dangerous phenomenon, and we all need to be aware of how to deal with this issue. It will not be eradicated through aerial bombardment, because we need new tools to deal with these new realities.”
             “We do not support foreign military involvement in the region. We believe that foreign forces should -- if they are asked by the governments in the region, then we don't interfere with the decision of sovereign states in the region. But as a principle, we do not believe that injection of foreign forces, either air or ground, solves our problem.”
             “The best thing is to allow the Iraqis to fight this. This is the fight for the Iraqis. They should fight this. They should be provided with the assistance necessary to fight this. The Iraqi Sunnis should be provided with the necessary assistance to fight this. The Iraqi Sunni leadership, the Iraqi Sunni political community, has been uprooted from its places of origin.”
            Sept. 17, 2014 at a Council on Foreign Relations event
 
              “Our interest is to have a region free from extremism and terrorism. If that is how the United States defines its interests, then there may be a commonality. We have not seen that unfortunately, because we continue to see United States hesitation in dealing with this terrorist group when it comes to Syria.
              “We need to live with this threat, or deal with this threat. For the United States, it may see this, in my view, erroneously, as an option. The United States is dealing with this as an option. The option in Iraq. The option in Syria. There are no options here. This is a challenge that you need to deal with it squarely and seriously and not based on double standards.
              Sept. 17, 2014 in an interview with NPR
 
            “This threat is against all countries in the region, and that is why broad cooperation is needed among all regional states to take serious action against it [ISIS].”
            Sept. 22, 2014 in a meeting with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
 
             “We are cooperating and working... with the Iraqi government and with the Kurdish government in order to repel this very serious, atrocious group. But we do not believe that they need the presence of Iranian soldiers in order to do this task.”
            IS is “committing acts of horrendous genocide and crimes against humanity” and “needs to be tackled the international community and by every country in the region.”
            Aug. 24, 2014 in a press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari
 
Interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour
 
AMANPOUR: You have other problems [besides the nuclear dispute]. Right now on your border, and that is the rise of ISIS in Iraq. How big a threat to Iran is ISIS?

ZARIF: I think this problem of extremism and sectarianism is a danger not only to Iraq and Syria

but to the entire region. We've been saying that --

AMANPOUR: But to Iran?

ZARIF: -- to Iran, too. Iran is a part of this region. We don't like instability in our neighborhood. Inside Iran, we are probably best protected from such waves of extremism than any of our neighbors. All our neighbors are more vulnerable to this threat than Iran is internally. 

But for us, our domestic security is inseparable from security of the region. So for us a secure Iraq, a secure Persian Gulf, a secure Afghanistan is as important as our own security.

So from that perspective, it becomes important. But we said it from the very beginning that this problem of extremism, violence and use of sectarian divisions in order to advance a political agenda was dangerous for all countries in the region and that is why we insisted from the very beginning that we need to have a strong unified stance against it.

AMANPOUR: And I presume you want a unified Iraq as well, because right now, it looks like it's fragmenting and it could possibly fragment.

I want to ask you specifically, Nouri al-Maliki is a product of Iran, according to everybody. In other words, Iran backed him in 2010 when he was reelected. Iran backed a lot of the people who he brought into his cabinet. And they are calling him extremely divisive, extremely sectarian and practically the opposite --They're calling him extremely divisive and extremely sectarian. Is al-Maliki the man that Iran wants to see as prime minister, no matter what?

ZARIF: Well, I think you made some assumptions that are not correct. Iran, first of all, wants Iraq territorial integrity and I have spoken to almost every regional foreign minister and all of them want to ensure that Iraq remains a secure with its own boundaries, national unity of Iraq. Disintegration of Iraq is going to be a disaster for the entire region. So that's given.

Iraq has a very lively democratic process. It's very young but very lively. People go and vote and people elect certain people. Our advice to the Iraqis, all of them, who’ve never supported any individual or party, our advice has been that you need to work, based on the democratic model, but at the same time to ensure that the government is inclusive, that the government represents various views.

Now you have a system in Iraq with an overwhelming majority of one group, but you have a system where the president is from one ethnicity; the speaker of the parliament is from another religious sectarian group. The prime minister is from another.

If you find this combination within the constitutional framework that Iraq has established and then allow various political parties to form a workable government that also represents all segments of Iraqi society, this is our desire. We're not in the business of supporting any individual. 

We support the Iraqi people. We support the choices of the Iraqi people, whoever Iraq can choose as its prime minister will have the full backing of Iran, whoever Iraq choose as its prime minister. 

And as its president and as its speaker of parliament, will have the full backing of Iran, because for us the number one issue is that we need to respect the choices of the Iraqi people. And my advice to countries in the West as well as countries in the region is to have respect for people, allow them to make their own choices. And once you allow them to make their own choices, they'll make the best choice.

AMANPOUR: Obviously Iraq has had a very painful history under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Obviously Iran suffered from that as well. But Prime Minister Maliki has at best treated the Sunnis as worse than junior partners, has basically frozen them out.

Do you think that the Shiite prime minister, because that’s what the constitution says it should be, should treat Sunnis as equals or as junior partners?

ZARIF: No, you see, it's a government based on democratic principles people have -- it doesn't matter whether you're Sunni --

AMANPOUR: It should be, but it hasn't happened.

ZARIF: -- no, no. You see, you have a government where political parties -- unfortunately some of them are along sectarian lines -- but political parties go to the polls, receive votes, some have more votes, some have less votes. They're different voting blocs in the Iraqi parliament.

Why do we need to send it into a sectarian issue? These are, in the United Kingdom, for instance, the prime minister is from one party; it has a coalition which works with another party. It's just a fact of life.

Why people need to make -- to insert divisive sectarian issues into this? We need to establish a government in Iraq that represents the views of the people but at the same time maybe if you have something exactly on that line, you will get only one group taking over all segments of Iraqi power structure and that is why you have these divisions and these attempts to bring everybody inside. 

It doesn’t mean that people who got the largest number of votes should be equally represented as people who got two votes in the parliament, that is not the meaning of democracy. Meaning of democracy is you get more votes; you get more seats in the parliament. You get more seats in the government. That's the reality.

But keeping that reality in mind, we insist that all segments of Iraqi society should be included in governing Iraq. That's the only way to ensure stability in Iraq and I'm sure all political parties, be Shia, Kurd, Sunni, all of them and non-sectarian, all of them have that objective in mind.

Now the way to achieve that objective may be different from -- based on one platform to another. But I think that's what we need to achieve. We should not start inserting sectarian divisions into Iraq.

Sectarian considerations are really dangerous for our region and really dangerous for the world. We live in a globalized world and it's very dangerous to fan these flames of sectarian hatred, one where it won't be contained in that area.

AMANPOUR: Is ISIS sufficient a threat for Iran and the United States to combat? Or does Iran not want to see any U.S. involvement in Iraq right now?

ZARIF: I think the international community needs to come together in order to deal with this threat of extremism and violence.

AMANPOUR: Specifically in Iraq.

ZARIF: In Iraq, in Syria, elsewhere. It requires a unified approach, not shortsighted policies, not infringing yourself in positions but really seeing the problem as it is. It is a problem of extremism. It is a problem of demagogues using inherent resentment that have arisen out of decades of injustice in our region.

But these are demagogues using these resentments in order to advance a very dangerous political agenda. And this dangerous political agenda may fit in the designs of some external powers. I don't know. I do not want to espouse conspiracy theories.

But what is important is everybody should come to realize that whatever their short-term interests are, in long term, this is a threat against everybody and everybody needs to have a unified international and regional stance against such acts of extremism and allowing it to take root in Iraq. 

Any political, any shortsighted political gain that some people believe they can derive from this unfortunate situation in Iraq is exactly shortsighted and will come to haunt them in the future.
 
Click here for more of the interview.
           
           “It is in the interest of everybody to stabilize the government of Iraq. If the U.S. has come to realize that these groups pose a threat to the security of the region, and if the U.S. truly wants to fight terrorism and extremism, then it’s a common global cause.”
            June 13, 2014 to Robin Wright for The New Yorker
  
Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani
 
      “Westerners are afraid of ISIS exploits in Iraq and Syria. They [Westerners] could not accept that the terrorists of ISIS can someday be a threat against them but now they are fearful.”
       Sept. 9, 2014 in an address at an international conference on the Palestinian issue
 
            “Obama has become concerned about the Kurds while many Christians, Sunni Muslims, Druze and Alawites were killed in Syria, but they [U.S. officials] remained silent.
            “Now, all of a sudden they have become conscious. This shows that they (US officials) have adopted a double standard and tactical approach toward this issue and this is wrong.”
           Aug. 12, 2014 to foreign ministry officials
 
            “The Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds are our friends [in Iraq].
            “We have always insisted that all ethnic groups must have active and constructive participation in Iraq's power structure".
            “We regard it as unacceptable to deprive any Iraqi ethnic group of their constitutional rights by anyone.”

            June 21, 2014 according to Parliament’s website 

 
Chairman of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi
            “The Americans, who strengthened terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are putting on a show in dealing with the ISIS instead of [taking] serious action.
Washington is just “posturing” to show “it has a role to play in the region.”
            Aug. 11, 2014 according to the press

Supreme National Security Council Chief Ali Shamkhani
 
      “The framework provided by the Iraqi Constitution stipulates that the prime minister has been chosen by the majority group in the parliament.
      “We congratulate Haidar al-Abadi on his nomination as prime minister, for him personally and for religious dignitaries, the Iraqi population and its political groups.
Iran calls on “all groups and coalitions in Iraq to protect the national interest”and “deal with external threats.”
            Aug. 12, 2014 according to the press
 
            “The current crisis in Iraq is the result of the meddling and collaboration of the western and regional enemies of the Iraqi nation, who are seeking to prevent the Iraqi people’s will and determination from coming into action.”
           June 16, 2014 in a meeting with Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani
 
           “Reports in Western media about possible Iran-U.S. cooperation are part of the West’s “psychological warfare” and are “completely unreal.”
            “As we have announced, we will examine the issue of helping (Iraq) within the framework of international regulations in case of an official request by the Iraqi government and this will be completely a bilateral process and has nothing to do with a third country.”
            June 16, 2014 according to Fars News Agency

Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari
 
       “It is the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief that no one should aid countries like Syria and Iraq unless the work is limited counselling and advising. The people and governments of these countries can overcome their problems without the aid of any country.”
       June 24, 2014 at a ceremony for martyrs of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq
 
 
 
 
 

 

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham
 
      “The so-called international coalition to fight the ISIL group, which came into existence following a NATO summit in Wales and is [now] taking shape, is shrouded in serious ambiguities, and there are severe misgivings about its determination to sincerely fight the root causes of terrorism.
      “Some of the countries in the coalition are among financial and military supporters of terrorists in Iraq and Syria and some others have reneged on their international duties in the hope of [seeing] their desired political changes in Iraq and Syria.”
“In the negotiations with the U.S., no issue but the issue of [Iran’s] nuclear energy has been discussed, and the U.S. side has merely talked about its positions regarding the ISIL group.”
            Sept. 11, 2014 according to the press
 
            “Iraq enjoys the necessary potential and military preparedness to fight against the terrorist and extremist elements. Any move that complicates the situation in Iraq will not be in the interest of Iraq and the region.
            “We believe that the Baghdad government can fully overcome the ongoing crisis in Iraq and thwart conspiracies through consolidation of national unity and internal solidarity.”
            June 14, 2014 to the press
 
            “Causing insecurity, disrupting democratic trends, overcoming ballot boxes, imposing weapons and terror rather than [promoting] democratic trends, all of these suggest that terrorism is being used today as a tool to overcome people’s votes.
            “The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the ominous phenomenon of terrorism and believes the first method to counter and eradicate it is for the regional nations to remain vigilant and for countries to boost national unity, and for the international community to pay serious and unbiased attention to this scourge facing humanity.”
            June 25, 2014 to the press
 
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
             When the Islamic State “attacked Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish officials requested help from Iran. And the Islamic Republic, in addition to providing advisers, organized their forces."
             “One day they brought news that there is a possibility that Karbala and Najaf would fall [cities holy to Shiites]. At that session, the president said that this is our red line and if something like this happens there will be no limit to our operations.”
             We had a timely presence, and there were days we were worried about the fall of pilgrimage cities.
             Aug. 25, 2014 according to the press (translation via Al-Monitor)
 
            “Supporting the Iraqi government and nation does not mean sending troops to Iraq. It means condemning terrorist acts and closing and safeguarding our joint borders.”
            June 14, 2014 according to Fars News Agency
 
Center for Strategic Studies head and Rouhani advisor Hesameddin Ashna
            “If the issue is about confronting extremism and violence, then yes, we’re [the United States and Iran] on the same side, but if it’s about destabilizing the region, then, no we are not.
            Iran would not support a U.S. ground intervention but airstrikes could help the “paralyzed” Iraqi air force.
            June 2014, according to The Washington Post
 
President Rouhani’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs Hamid Aboutalebi
            “The events in Iraq has highlighted a number of hypothesis.
            “First, Iran and America are the only two countries, from a perspective of regional power, that can peacefully end Iraq’s crisis.
            “Second, Iran and America have both ruled out military involvement in Iraq
            “Third, both Iran and America have asked Iraq’s government and Nouri al Maliki to bring the scourge of terrorism and the problems of Iraq to an end.
           “Fourth, the legitimate government of Iraq, in addition to its military capabilities, has potential political solutions worth considering to resolve problems.
            “Fifth, Iran and America have both never disregarded the implicit possibility of cooperation to solve the crisis in Iraq.”
           June 15, 2014 on Twitter according to Al Monitor
 
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian
            “The brutal attacks of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank and the indifference of self-proclaimed advocacy groups and ISIL proved that they are enforcers of the policies dictated by Tel Aviv and apply their power and arms only against Muslims and the strength of the Islamic states.
           July 13, 2014 according to the press
 
            “Certain countries which are supporting Takfiri terrorists and remnants of [executed Iraqi dictator] Saddam [Hussein] should either correct their attitude or wait for negative consequences of their support.”
         June 30, 2014 in a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov
 
           “If Iran asks [for help], we will send military equipment to Iraq within the framework of international laws and contracts.”
           June 26, 2014 according to the press
 
            “We supply Baghdad with necessary consultations but we have no intervention in the country.”
            June 16, 2014 according to Tasnim news agency
 
            “We will mightily support Iraq in is confrontation with terrorism. We are sure that the Iraqi armed forces will powerfully and effectively crash the terrorist and takfiri forces.”
            June 11, 2014 via state media
 
Deputy Commander of Army Ground Forces Brig. Gen. Kiumars Heidari
            “Iranian Army’s Ground Forces are not only closely monitoring the developments in Iraq and the region, but also constantly observe the different threats [coming from around the globe].”
            June 16, 2014 according to Tasnim news agency
 
Supreme Leader Khamenei’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards Hojjatoleslam Ali Saeedi
            “Saudi Arabia made a lot of efforts to upset the situation in Syria, and Qatar has also made a big investment in this regard, and some other countries made grave mistakes in Syria as well.”
           June 12, 2014 according to Iranian media
 
Expediency Council Chairman and former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
            “We do not want to interfere in the internal affairs of countries and we hope we will be a good mediator to extinguish the flames [of the crisis in Iraq].”
            June 22, 2014 in a meeting with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully
 
Interior Ministry Spokesperson Hossein Ali Amiri

            “There is no particular problem along our common border with Iraq; however, the necessary measures have been taken by the Interior Ministry and border police.”
           June 23, 2014, according to press

Basij Militia Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi
            “The terrorist and anti-Islamic ISIL group is the US’s instrument for sowing discord among Muslims in the region.
            “The US and the Israeli regime seek to use fanatics and anti-Islamic groups to damage the Islamic community.”
            June 23, 2014, according to press

Lt. Commander of Khatam al Anbia Air Defense Base Gen. Shahrokh Shahram
            “Today the takfiri and ISIS forces are killing Muslims in the region on behalf of the US the same way over 30 countries helped Saddam [Hussein] during the imposed war to pave the way for the collapse of the Islamic Republic through waging war against Iran.”
            June 30, 2014 according to Fars News Agency
 

Tehran’s Provisional Friday Prayer Leader Seyed Ahmad Khatami
           “The US and Israel are supporting the ISIS with the purpose of disintegrating Iraq and create differences among Muslims.”
            June 27, 2014

Parliament's Director General for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslami
            “Are we stupid to join the Americans and their coalition? Except for the Iraqis, they are all the same people who over the past three years have been plotting against Syria in over 20 different conferences.”
            September 2014 according to the
press

            “Supporters of these terrorist groups want to portray Iraq's parliamentary democracy as a failure because they consider this democracy as a factor for their destruction.”
            July 1, 2014 according to the press

Foreign Ministry
            “The Islamic Republic of Iran supports all steps taken toward the completion of the political process in Iraq. It is obvious that the Islamic Republic of Iran as in the past will continue its support for the Iraqi government and nation in fighting terrorism and promoting the country’s stability and security.”
             Aug.12, 2014 in a statement

 

UNITED STATES

Secretary of State John Kerry
            “The fact is there is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran, whose foreign minister is here with us here today.  ISIL poses a threat to all of us, and we’re committed to working in close partnership with the new Iraqi Government and countries around the world to defeat it.
            Sept. 19, 2014 at U.N. Headquarters in New York
 
             Just because the Iranians were not invited to the Paris conference “doesn’t mean that we are opposed to the idea of communicating to find out if they will come on board or under what circumstances or whether there is the possibility of a change.”
             Sept. 15, 2014 to reporters
 
              “I think under the circumstances, at this moment in time, it would not be right for any number of reasons. It would not be appropriate, given the many other issues that are on the table with respect to their engagement in Syria and elsewhere.”
              Sept. 12, 2014 to reporters
 
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf
             “[T]o be very clear, we are not coordinating with, we do not want to coordinate with, we are not planning to coordinate with Iran in any way on Iraq, period.  So obviously, we’re open to having a discussion with them.  We won’t always outline all of those discussions.  But in terms of the content of what those discussions might look like, we are not coordinating with them.”
             Sept. 16, 2014 at a press briefing
 

IRAQ

Ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Majid al Sheikh
            “These are just the rumors of biased and despiteful media which are seeking to sow discord among the regional states, especially Iran and Iraq.
            “Iraq doesn’t need any country neither for weapons nor for the military forces at all; hence, I emphasize that neither General [Qassem] Soleimani nor any other (Iranian) figure is in Iraq.”
            June 24, 2014, according to press

 

Photo credits: President.ir, Khamenei.ir, Iran's Ministry of Defense, Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ali Larijani by Harald Dettenborn [CC-BY-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons,

 

Khamenei Undergoes Prostate Surgery

             With unusual candor, the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has released a stream of pictures of the cleric after he underwent prostate surgery. His office claimed the minor procedure was completed in half an hour and only necessitated local anesthesia. But Khamenei still received more than a dozen visitors, including the most powerful clerics and politicians in the country. The following are pictures and tweets released by the supreme leader’s office and an interview conducted before the surgery.

Tags: Khamenei

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