SPECIAL REPORT ON POSITIONS OF IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD
by Y. Mansharof and A. Savyon
In several recent speeches, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outlined Iran’s nuclear policy and set forth his vision regarding the interrelationship between Iran and the West.
In a speech about Iran’s nuclear program, Ahmadinejad declared that Iran has become a global power, and that it would place its nuclear technology at the service of those determined to confront the U.S. and other Western countries. He announced that Iran was now successfully operating over 3,000 centrifuges, continued to downplay the impact of the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran, and reiterated Iran’s official stance of refusal to freeze its nuclear activity. Ahmadinejad also harshly censured senior Iranian officials who had called for compromise with the West on Iran’s nuclear program out of fear of a possible U.S. attack on Iran, hinting that they were traitors.
In addition, Ahmadinejad declared that the world was now at an historic turning point. The history of the West, he said, had reached its end, and the appearance of the Hidden Imam, heralding the era of Islamic Shi’ite rule, was nigh. Thus, he called on the nations of the world to rise up against the hegemony of the West, headed by the U.S., and predicted the imminent collapse of Israel, which he called “Satan’s standard-bearer.”
Following are statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on various issues, from his recent speeches:
On several occasions, Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran would continue developing its nuclear program regardless of the sanctions. He noted that the sanctions were having no impact on progress in “the irreversible path of the nuclearization of the Iranian nation” and denied Western reports of a slowdown in Iran’s uranium enrichment. Ahmadinejad further promised to place Iran’s nuclear technology “at the service of those who are determined to confront the bullying powers and aggressors [i.e., the Western countries, headed by the U.S.].” At a recent conference of Revolutionary Guard commanders, he also stated that “some violent powers [i.e., the West, headed by the U.S.] are now officially declaring that they want to cooperate with the Iranian nation, and that they acknowledge Iran’s [status] as a regional power. However, they must know that Iran is a global power.”
In a report submitted in late August 2007 to the International Atomic Energy Agency Council of Governors, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei stated that as of August 19, 2007, 1,968 centrifuges at the Natanz facility had been injected with UF6 gas and were in operation. However, in early September, 2007, Ahmadinejad stated: “When we opened [the uranium conversion facility] at Isfahan, they [i.e. the West, headed by the U.S.] threatened military action [against us]. But now, we are operating over 3,000 centrifuges, and every week [another] new [centrifuge] system is installed… They have not managed to do anything against [our] united and steadfast nation.” He added, “They thought that they could make the Iranian nation withdraw with each of the sanctions resolutions that they issued â€“ but after each resolution, the Iranian nation showed further progress [in its nuclear] program.”
On another occasion, Ahmadinejad harshly condemned senior Iranian officials who had in recent months called for compromise with the West: “With regard to obtaining nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, unreliable individuals have spoken of compromising. No one would believe it if I mentioned the names of these individuals, who in several meetings spoke of the need for compromise, enumerating the enemy’s strong points, and [raising the possibility that the West could launch] an all-out war. We have experienced days when we were pressured from a hundred different directions from within [Iran] to withdraw [and to halt uranium enrichment]… But I said that I was willing to guarantee them that it was impossible for [the U.S.] to launch a war against us…”
Ahmadinejad went on to explain: “At some meetings, I told these friends that I was an engineer, and that I had analyzed the problems and presented proof, [and thus] I told them that the enemies do not have the courage to launch a war against us. Some doubted my words, but I presented them with two pieces of evidence. First, I told them, I am an engineer, I am deliberate, I make tables and write and examine hypotheses for hours. I present proof and put together plans based on it, and that is how I proceed. They [the U.S.] cannot pose a problem to Iran. They are stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have problems there, and lack the ability to act against Iran. As further proof, I told them that I believe in the word of God. God said that those who act properly will triumph. Iran’s Leader [Ali Khamenei] and the Iranian nation are steadfast in, attentive to, and agree with the word of God…”
Ahmadinejad added, “I have documents to prove that some people, who are supported by newspapers that do nothing but malign the government on a daily basis, made every effort to ensure that sanctions were issued against Iran. They would provide the West with the latest updates about Iran’s nuclear program, and urge it to exert as much pressure as possible on the Iranian government. It was not one or two people, but at least eight or 10. Now, these people are turning to the Gulf states and telling them not to cooperate with the Iranian government.” In his speech to the Revolutionary Guards commanders, Ahmadinejad said, in a similar vein, “Unfortunately, some elements in Iran have encouraged some of the violent powers to increase the pressures on Iran.”
In a press conference during his August 21-22, 2007 visit to Azerbaijan, Ahmadinejad said that the West’s attempts to stop Iran’s nuclear program had been in vain, and that Iran had not changed its policy: “Thanks to the determined stance of the Iranian nation, which has stood united in defense of its right to nuclear technology, Iran’s enemies have not succeeded in preventing its progress, and in imposing their positions upon it, for Iran has now achieved a full nuclear fuel cycle… The Western countries know very well that their actions have no effect on Iran, and that they will eventually be compelled to acknowledge its right to develop this technology… If these aggressive countries pay no heed to our friendly advice, their prestige in the world will suffer, and their situation will be more difficult…”
“When I visited Baku last year, Iran was only at the halfway point on the winding and difficult path to nuclear technology. But today, with God’s grace and thanks to the determined stand and resistance of the Iranian people, Iran has seen this narrow and difficult path through to its end… and now nobody can stop the progress of the Iranian nation in the area of nuclear technology.
“There are countries whose attainment of nuclear technology did not bring about any change in the world. Iran’s nuclearization, on the other hand, is the beginning of a very great change in the world, since its nuclear activities are in the service of peace, justice, and welfare for all the world’s countries… You [i.e. the Western countries] have used the language of force, and have failed to realize the greatness of the Iranian nation. You thought that if you increased the pressure [i.e. the sanctions] on Iran, the Iranian nation would withdraw from its position… I said to these countries: You are wrong, and you are making fools of yourselves â€“ for you cannot harm Iran in the slightest…”
At an August 28, 2007 press conference at the presidential palace, Ahmadinejad said further: “As for the reports about Iran slowing down or accelerating its nuclear program, most of them are not grounded in reality. We are working to enrich uranium. This is a technical process, and any acceleration or deceleration of the activities has to do with technical circumstances and capabilities. Political decisions play no part in this… I hereby officially announce that, as far as Iran is concerned, the nuclear issue is closed. Those who thought that they could stop the Iranian nation through discriminatory political moves [i.e. sanctions], and by abusing their power in the international decision-making bodies, now realize that the path they took was wrong…”
In his speech at the annual International Seminar on the Doctrine of Mahdism, held in Tehran August 25-26, 2007, Ahmadinejad stated that Western dominance has come to an end, and called on the nations of the world to rebel against “the oppressive imperialist powers” in preparation for the coming of the Hidden Imam:
“The Hidden Imam is heir to everything that has been good and beautiful throughout history, and the call to await his coming is a call to have faith in the missions of the divine prophets, in monotheism, and in justice… In these days, humanity longs for monotheism and justice. With God’s grace, the preparations for a flood of compassion, truth and justice will soon be complete…
“The message of Mahdism, which calls to believe in the Savior [i.e. the Hidden Imam], brings hope and joy to people throughout the world. It is a message of steadfastness and patience and of resisting the oppressors [i.e. the West, headed by America]; it is a message of submission to God and of the pursuit of justice and honor. The current situation in the world has led the nations to reject in disgust the rule of the oppressors. Now is the time to invite people to accept the rule of the righteous, and especially that of the most righteous of rulers â€“ the Hidden Imam…
“Today’s imperialist forces give humanity nothing by forcing wars upon it, plundering its resources, violating human rights, issuing threats, trampling human dignity and spreading corruption, vice and insecurity… The oppressors and tyrants are responsible for all the difficulties and problems currently faced by the nations, and the only way to establish justice is through popular uprising and determined resistance in the face of these oppressors…”
“The day of these aggressors… who are oppressing and controlling the nations, is now coming to an end. Those who seek to distract the people with materialistic philosophy of one kind or another, and who pursue materialism, have brought humanity nothing but despair and deception… The time of the righteous rulers will come, and the most righteous of rulers, [i.e. the Hidden Imam], will form a government and thereby instate the monotheism of Abraham [throughout the world]. That day is not far away…
“Our enemies naturally feel threatened by the call to believe in the Mahdi, for they do not want people to think about justice. But our reply to them is that the era of the aggressive powers has come to an end. We believe that it is time for the righteous to rule, and for humanity to be properly re-born out of love, knowledge, and spirituality.”
In his speech at the opening of the fourth World Assembly of the Ahl Al-Beit Foundation, held in Tehran August 18-19, 2007, Ahmadinejad said:
“Today we must prepare ourselves to discharge the responsibility placed upon us… which transcends the boundaries of the Muslim world… Islam is the truth. This truth was only partly revealed in Judaism and Christianity, but is fully revealed in Islam… Today, as ever, the world needs the Hidden Imam, for it is suffering under the yoke of dishonest rulers… Our mission transcends the geographical boundaries of the Muslim world. Our clerics have a responsibility to call upon humanity as a whole to embrace the true monotheism and the rule of monotheistic principles.”
In an August 28, 2007 speech, Ahmadinejad added, “The current problems faced by the world result from the rule of unworthy rulers. The ultimate solution is to replace these unworthy regimes and rulers, and to establish the rule of the Hidden Imam…” “Those who are not versed in the doctrine of Mahdism believe that the return of the Hidden Imam will occur only in a very long time, but, according to the divine promise, his return is imminent…”
On August 29, 2007, Ahmadinejad said, “The Iranian nation and the Islamic Revolution have a pivotal role in preparing the ground for the coming of the Hidden Imam… We must rapidly develop Iran in order to create the right conditions for his coming, and we must also help the rest of the world’s nations to prepare for his return, in order to precipitate this great event…”
“The responsibility that currently rests on Iran’s shoulders is very heavy; it is the kind of mission with which the divine prophets were entrusted. It does not permit us to rest or slumber even for a moment. Have you ever seen a prophet take a rest from the fulfillment of his mission?…”
Ahmadinejad’s recent speeches have also been characterized by statements against the Zionists and against Israel, which he called “Satan’s standard-bearer.”
At the August 28, 2007 press conference, he said: “The Zionists have no religion, for religion means having faith in others and maintaining friendly relations with other nations. But everywhere they exist there is war. They are responsible for much of the injustice in the world. The Zionists are a minority which numbers no more than a few tens of thousands, but they have formed clandestine organizations, because they do not want peace and friendship to prevail among the nations… They thrive on war and hatred. If peace ever prevails in the world, the people of the world will eradicate Zionism. If the European nations could have acted freely, they would have thrown them out of Europe.”
In his speech at the Ahl Al-Beit assembly, Ahmadinejad said: “You also saw the outcome of the 33-day war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and how Hizbullah stood fast against the Zionist regime. Can such a regime conceivably last? A regime whose entire philosophy and existence are founded upon lies is bound to collapse… The extent of the defeat of the world superpowers is reflected by the extent to which their ideology and reasoning have failed… Israel is the standard-bearer of aggression, occupation, and discrimination in the world. Considering all this, how can this regime possibly last?”
In line with his view of Israel as a foreign body in the region, Ahmadinejad said, at a September 4, 2007 meeting with deposed Palestinian foreign minister Ziad Abu ‘Amru: “The only way out of the crisis is through armed resistance by a united Palestinian nation, with determination and faith in God… It would be naÃ¯ve of us to believe that America and certain European countries might take steps to help the Palestinian people â€“ for the Zionist regime is their representative, and is flesh of their flesh… The Palestinian nation is now invincible… The Iranian nation and government believe in the Palestinian cause, and are interested in its fulfillment. They will continue to stand by the Palestinian people…”
In line with his view that the Western hegemony is coming to an end, Ahmadinejad stated that the depth of the West’s defeat mirrors the depth of its ideological defeat. He predicted that the Coalition forces will soon be forced to withdraw from Iraq, and declared that Iran would be willing to fill the vacuum.
In his speech at the Ahl Al-Beit assembly, he said: “The hegemony of America and its allies in Iraq has been shattered, and the Americans have suffered an historic defeat. The depth of the military defeat suffered by the Global Arrogance [i.e. America] mirrors the depth of their ideological defeat…
“The world is now at a historic turning point. This is apparent from the briefest glance at the global balance of power, which is rapidly tipping towards truth and away from falsehood… America and its allies in Iraq are now sinking in a quagmire, from which they… can escape only at great cost…”
On another occasion, Ahmadinejad said, “The aggressors have become entangled in Iraq. They attribute no importance to Iraqi lives… I hereby announce loud and clear that the occupier’s political forces are facing defeat in Iraq…and that we will soon see a serious leadership vacuum in the region. I hereby announce that Iran is willing to fill this vacuum, with the help of its neighbors and friends in the region, including Saudi Arabia. With the help of the Iraqi people, we will fill this vacuum. This is already happening; we must open our eyes to see it…
“I advise the aggressors to stop their stubbornness and selfishness… Even if you stay in Iraq for another 50 years, not only will conditions fail to improve, they will deteriorate… Iraq is, in the present circumstances, just another example of the corrupt rule of the superpowers… We have announced in the past our willingness to extricate you from the Iraqi quagmire â€“ but if you choose to stay there, you are welcome to do so!… Wait a few months, and you will see that under pressure, the [Al-Maliki] government will be defeated…”
On August 28, 2007, Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran was willing to renew relations with Egypt, and added that both countries would benefit from this, as two dominant forces in the region. “Iran and Egypt are both great and civilized nations, which maintain ties of mutual friendship. The truth is that the Egyptian nation is clearly interested in relations with Iran, and that the Iranian nation is interested in relations with Egypt. The two countries have many distinctive characteristics in common, such as a unique and ancient culture. Furthermore, both have significant influence in regional and global issues, and therefore, friendship between them will benefit the Muslim countries and the world at large.”
“During my visit to the UAE in May 2007, I announced that if Egypt declares its willingness to renew the relations with Iran, we would promptly dispatch an ambassador to Cairo. The deputy foreign ministers of the two countries are due to meet to discuss this issue, and this meeting will be followed by a meeting between the foreign ministers themselves in order to prepare the foundations for renewing relations. I hope that these plans will be realized shortly…”
In the same speech, Ahmadinejad said that all citizens and groups in Iran enjoyed complete and full freedom, and can express their opinions freely. Addressing the issue of the Iranian-American academic Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, who was recently released from an Iranian prison after being detained for over three months, he stated that her case would be decided by the Iranian judiciary.
ENDNOTE: According to Shi’ite belief, the Twelfth Imam (known as the Mahdi, or the Hidden Imam) disappeared in 941 CE. Shi’ites are commanded to anticipate his reappearance, which will bring their redemption and the proof of the rightness of the Shi’ite belief.