Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delivered a speech at the Interior Ministry in Tehran on July 11, 2019.
What follows is the full text of the speech:
In the Name of God
The Americans believed that Iran would cave in under economic pressure. Not only did they themselves believe in that idea, but they had also inculcated that belief into their allies. They said killing time would result in the collapse of the Islamic Republic [of Iran].
By God’s grace and with reliance on people, who have rendered all the calculations of the Westerners, the Americans and ill-wishers of this country null and void since the [1979 Islamic] Revolution, this US prediction failed to become reality, too. A few months before assuming his current position, Mr Bolton had said in a speech to members of the MKO [terrorist] grouping that Iran would not see the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and that we (the Americans and the MKO) would hold a celebration in Iran the following year.
This pipe dream was put into words at a meeting for which Bolton had received $40,000. A few said that the idea was just a slogan, and that he had floated the idea just to please the MKO. But this was not the case. His words were a prediction that reflected his thoughts. In order to make that dream come true, the Americans had made huge investments.
I said at a closed-door meeting of provincial governors last year, and I can say it openly now: They suddenly pulled out of the JCPOA with no good reason. They delivered speeches, and displayed a very big signature, and Mr Bolton had that signature framed and hung in his room. Why? Because he regarded the signing of that document as the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, by God’s grace, this policy failed, too.
They even did not make inquiries to find out that the MKO group has no social power base in Iran, and that its members are just a handful of old, frozen individuals who are sitting at their computers and produce meaningless contents. Rather, they formulated the United States’ policy base on the MKO’s words. Based on the MKO group’s anti-revolutionary remarks, they made policies and engineered schemes with regards to this way of thinking, which they themselves had been seeking as well.
It was the people who, since the beginning of the [victory of the] Revolution till now, have proved all the predictions of ill-wishers wrong. I remember when [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein attacked Iran, [US] authorities predicted that Iran would fall in one or two weeks’ time. So, the UN Security Council refused to adopt a resolution on the Iraq-Iran war for a week. If you look at the first UN Security Council resolution on the war, it was issued one week after the war broke out. Even in that very resolution, they refused to tell Iraq to leave the Iranian territory. Whenever a war breaks out, the UN almost always spouts the same cliché: ceasefire and withdrawal. UN Security Council 497, which was adopted seven days after the war began, even did not abide by this very cliché. They believed there was even no need for theatrics and pretension.
This wrong policy emanates from their hegemonic attitude. Since the victory of the Revolution, [Iranian] people have rendered this policy ineffective with very few resources and bare hands. These Basijis [voluntary forces], [wartime] service members and ordinary people rendered that policy null and void.
They predicted time and again that they would be able to bring our people to their knees through their policy of pressure, but each time people proved with their presence that the policy would fail. By God’s grace, this [Iranian calendar] year, too, people will once again prove with their turnout in the election that this policy is a failed one. Who would win in the election is not important, but what is important is that he will win in an election in “Iran” to bring failure upon the United States. That is why the upcoming elections (early 2020) and the one to be held in 2021 are strategically important for the country.
We have proven that the US cannot talk to Iranian people through pressure. In the 2013 elections, the Americans believed there was voter apathy in the country. They had predicted that people would not go to the polls again after the 2009 election. But the opposite came true and 73 percent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballot.
I’m telling you honestly that it was the people’s support that enabled us to stand up to six world powers and reach an agreement which the US president called the worst agreement in the history of the United States. The Americans came to realize that with the presence of people in the election – no matter who would win – sanctions will fail to produce the result that Washington has in mind.
As an anti-human move and a crime against humanity, sanctions can put economic pressure on people, but cannot drive a wedge between people and the Establishment. If we study the literature of sanctions, we will understand that the classic objective of sanctions is to produce a political outcome. In other words, economic pressure could produce a political result and separate people from the Establishment. Today, too, their “maximum pressure” policy is aimed at separating the people from officials.
Under the current circumstances, the US feels it has been defeated both politically and on the ground. The US pushed the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency to hold a meeting in order to isolate us. However, this world power and its allies that are members of the board failed to make the Board of Governors chairman even issue a one-line statement [against Iran]. Last year, the US called four UN Security Council meetings against Iran. Even Mr Trump attended one of those meetings. The US secretary of state took part in another meeting, and even sat down at the sessions to listen to lectures delivered by experts, not ambassadors, of some countries. However, in none of those meetings were they able to make the UN Security Council issue a single statement against Iran. Despite all the pretexts they mentioned, they failed to urge the council to adopt an anti-Iran resolution. So, the United States has been isolated on the global political landscape. The US feels it has been defeated on the ground in the Middle East as well. One of the reasons behind the US defeat is people’s resistance and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s backing for resistance. This has been a key point for Iran over the past 40 years in the face of wrong choices and policies adopted by the US and its allies in the region.
It was not us who supported the Taliban and al-Qaeda and the ISIS, and gave Saddam Hussein $70 billion from Saudis’ pockets, US-made AWACS aircraft, French-made Exocet jet fighters, British Chieftain tanks, Russian MiG aircraft, Chinese-made Silkworm missiles and German-made chemical weapons. It was not us who held the prime minister of a country in prison for three weeks. It was not us who used state-of-the-art arms against Yemeni people. It was they who made these mistakes.
The Americans supported terrorists, dictators, murderers, those who used violence against their own people and Zionist occupiers who trample the rights of Palestinian people underfoot. The result was that they became isolated in the region.
They breach their international agreements not only with regards to Iran. Some of our friends say the JCPOA was not strong enough, and that is why the US violated it. Suppose the JCPOA was not strong enough, though it was – we now can see the strength of the JCPOA, and we will see it more in the future, though national interests won’t allow us to make it into a film (applause by audience), and we don’t have enough money, either (audience laughing).
But suppose the JCPOA was not strong enough: wasn’t NAFTA strong enough, either? Wasn’t the missile agreement with Russia strong, either? How about UNESCO’s Statute? What about the climate change convention? Can we say that whoever in the world that has signed an agreement has been deceived? No. The United States’ policy is unilateralism, which has resulted in the United States’ isolation. You saw its result, and we will, God willing, continue to see its result, if we act logically.
If we behave in accordance with the three principles that the Leader has stressed, i.e., dignity, wisdom and expediency, we will definitely see its result. Iranian people are respected. They have never been humiliated, and, by God’s grace, will never be humiliated. These people are honourable. Don’t create the impression that they are dishonoured. The people will show once again that they are our true patrons. Our security is because of these people.
The Americans have been isolated on the political stage around the world because of both our diplomacy and their wrong policies. The Americans have isolated themselves at their own hands. That is why they call a UN Security Council meeting and no one supports them. They call an IAEA Board of Governors meeting and no one backs them. This is a situation that the US has created for itself.
Of course, this situation is not unchangeable. The United States can live rationally with a little bit of wisdom and common sense, and by somehow extricating itself from the yoke of Israel, and from the yoke of “B-Team” whose aim is to compromise the US interests in favour of the Zionist regime’s interests. There is no reason for the US to always behave and live like this.
Iran was not in a position of weakness, but in a position of power when it decided, in accordance with Clause 36 of the JCPOA, to scale down some of its commitments in order to create a balance and keep the JCPOA alive.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a unified entity which is present in different scenes under theguidelines of the Supreme Leader. Iran is not comprised of several units. Foreigners shouldn’t think they are facing a pluralistic Iran. Rather, they are facing an integrated Iran. This integrated Iran will go to the polls at the end of this year and, regardless of who they will vote for, will show national unity and integrity. Whoever is elected will be good for the country. What is important is that there should be national presence and power.
As a system working under the guidelines of the Leader, the Islamic Republic of Ian has the upper hand in the political and international domain. Today, the US is making extreme use of the only lever left for it, i.e., economic leverage. The US is targeting ordinary people. If you read the definition of terrorism in legal books, the definition that everyone has reached consensus on is this: Using acts of force against civilians in order to achieve political objectives.
The Americans say terrorism is what cowards do. Now, what are the Americans doing?
The US, which has suffered defeat due to its wrong moves on the ground, cannot be upset with us that have made the right choice, cannot be dismayed that we chose Iraqi people instead of Saddam Hussein, cannot be upset that we chose Syrian people instead of the ISIS. The US cannot be dismayed at us that we chose Lebanese people instead of Zionists, cannot be upset with us that we chose Yemeni people instead of those who bombard them. It cannot be dismayed at us that we chose Qatari people instead of those who had blockaded them. The US cannot be upset with us that we chose Afghan people instead of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. They themselves made the wrong choices.
Now, the Americans are playing the cowards’ game and is using economic terrorism against Iranian people, hoping to be able to provoke these people to rise up against their government. Mr Pompeo has officially announced that Washington hopes Iranian people would choose another government. How are you going to realize your hope? By praying, through diplomacy or using terror and crimes against humanity? By killing children suffering from cancer? By torturing a child suffering from the rare EB disease? By torturing patients suffering from MS?
Of course, by God’s grace, we have reached self-sufficiency in most areas. You only have monopoly over few specific areas, which you deny us. This is called war crime. This is called terrorism. The US has turned to terrorism and economic terrorism because of its desperation in regional and international arenas.
Don’t be mistaken. We are not in a position of weakness. The Islamic Republic of Iran is in a position of power. We are in a position of power because of wisdom, expediency and dignity. INSTEX may not have any value for us, but it has one strategic value, and that is, the United States’ closest allies have formulated a mechanism to circumvent the US. Two US allies (the United Arab Emirates and India) have decided not use the greenback in their transactions. Russia and China have decided not to use the US dollar in their transactions. According to the Turkish foreign minister, 35 percent of the transactions between us and Turkey were conducted using national currencies. This means the United States’ excessive use of economic terrorism by using the greenback as a tool has led to losses for the US in the long run, even from a strategic point of view in the domain of economy.
We are stepping into a key stage of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political life, i.e., election. We should enter into this stage with open eyes, with the view that Iran is powerful. People’s presence and support is the most powerful source of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power.
Iran’s security is endogenous. Iran’s scientific progress is endogenous. Iran’s economic development, social order, etc., are endogenous. Any country you see around us is under the nuclear umbrella; either the country itself has nukes or is supported by a country which is in possession of nuclear weapons. Which one of them enjoys more security than us? When the late Imam Khomeini said people are our patrons, he was not only talking the talk. This is reality. If I can stand here and say with confidence that we are the safest country in the region, it is because of the people’s backing. And due to this popular support, they will definitely go to the polls.
We should only facilitate the process and do not hinder it. People will go to the polls because they are the owners of this country. They regard themselves as owners of the country. We are just tenants. People are the owners. We come and go. People are the owners of this country. It is not only our ethical responsibility to respect the rights of these people. It is not only our legal duty. It is not only our Islamic duty. It is a requirement of our national security. Everything we have depends on these people.
I thank my brother Dr Rahmani Fazli, who fulfilled this important responsibility with strength and wisdom in the best way possible over the past six years. With his and his colleagues’ help and with reliance on God and trust in the people, we will once again prove in this stage that the Americans are mistaken and cannot do anything.