Office of Iran's Supreme Leader: Why is the U.S. Frightened of Iran's Missile Capabilities?

January 27, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

1) What made Iran consider launching a domestic missile industry?

There was once a time when our country – in Tehran, where you can come and go comfortably, with complete security, in the present time – was under the attack of Saddam's missiles. Perhaps, many of you were not born, in those days, yet. We did not have any means to defend ourselves. That was while everyone was helping Saddam. The USA used to help Saddam by giving him missiles, defensive weapons, and even war plans. It [USA] used to help him with his satellites.

Others were helping him as well. France was helping, too. The French government used to give him missiles and planes. The same is true of Germany: Germany was giving him chemical weapons. You know, Saddam's army used to conduct chemical attacks on many occasions. We have so many casualties as a result of those chemical weapons. Many of them have passed away! It was the Germans who gave him the chemical substances: the Germans used to provide them with chemical substances, so they could make chemical bombs with them. They might even have provided them with chemical bombs in certain cases. Everyone used to help him, but we were empty-handed. We did not have any means.

Thus, we began to consider making our own defensive tools. We actually began to do so from point zero. If I tell you – unfortunately, there is no time to expand on this matter – about the first weapon we managed to launch, whose range was about 20 km, you might laugh. They built something like a carrier, from which we were supposed to launch RPGs somehow! And those RPGs were supposed to cover a distance of 15, 20 kilometers. This was how things began. Later on, we managed to increase our capabilities. When our capabilities increased, and when the enemy witnessed that we could retaliate, he stopped. This was our experience. If we do not increase our defensive power, our enemies will become bold and audacious. They will be encouraged to attack us. Our defensive power should be developed in a way that the enemy will not be encouraged to do mischievous things.
Oct 18, 2017

2) Why doesn’t Iran strengthen its diplomatic power rather than rely on missile capabilities? 

They are using the largest number of means, and the fastest and most comprehensive instruments, against the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic, too, should prepare itself for using all means necessary. The enemy is using the contrivance of diplomacy. Diplomacy and political discussions, negotiations and exchanges are some of their maneuvers. 

I am not against political negotiations, of course, not with everyone. There are some exceptions. I am fine with political negotiations on an international level. I have had certain ideas in this regards, since the time of my presidency, and I have always pursued such matters. They should not pretend that we are against the essence of negotiations. This is not the case. We agree with negotiations more than they do; and, in some cases, we know how to negotiate better than they do. We know how to act in this regard. The enemy is taking advantage of political negotiations as well. Therefore, we should be careful.  

So, the enemy is using negotiations, economic exchanges, economic sanctions and threats as a means to start a war and to use weapons against us. We should have a system of defensive power to combat of all these machinations. 

Some people say, “The future of the world is all about negotiations, not about missiles.” If this is said out of ignorance, well it is ignorance; but if it is said knowingly, it is treason! How is such a thing possible? If the Islamic Republic pursues science and technology, political negotiations and various financial and economic projects – all of which are necessary of course – but lacks defensive power, then any rogue or tiny government will threaten it with missiles over anything trivial. Well, if you do not have the opportunity to defend, you will be forced to retreat.

When you see that powers in the world speak in a harsh tone, behave in an oppressive manner, make extravagant claims, say bad things and bully others, they do so by relying on the weapons that they have. So, under such circumstances, should we empty our hands of such things when confronted by them?

When the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps displays its missile achievements, this is a source of pride and honor, not only for Iranians but also for other nations. When its missiles are tested with such precision, and with such beauty, many freedom-seeking peoples around us--who are angry at America and the Zionist regime--become content as well. When such things are accomplished, should we criticize the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps by saying that the era of missiles is over? No, the era of missiles is not over! The enemy is continuously preparing and updating itself. So, should we retreat like naïve individuals and say that this is not so?

These statements are like the ones made during the beginning of the Revolution, when they wanted to sell and return our F-14s, but I did not allow them. I received news that one of the officials in the interim government of the day said: “The F-14s that the taghuti regime bought are of no use to us. What do we want to do with them? We should give them back.” However, we opposed this, made vehement criticisms, conducted interviews and confronted them. As a result, they did not dare do so [give the F-14s back], but they wanted to give them back. A short time later, the Iran-Iraq war began. They attacked us, and it became clear how much we needed those weapons that were available to us – the F-14s, F-4s, and the like. Today too, some people are singing the same song by saying, “What are missiles to us? What do we want missiles for? The present era is not the era of missiles.” So, the present time is the era of what? The present time is the era of anything…
Mar 30, 2016

Military strength is a source of power. You’ve witnessed the pandemonium they create, around the world, about matters related to our missiles. They say that Iran has missiles and that its missiles are accurate. Yes, we have missiles and we have accurate missiles. Our missiles can hit a target at a distance of several thousand kilometers, within a distance of a few meters. We achieved this with power, and we will preserve and increase it with power, God willing. They are opposed to it, and they show hostility and a grudge towards it because it is a source of power for the country. You’ve witnessed what they are doing because of this. 
May 10, 2017

3) Some of the European countries have announced that in order to get results out of the nuclear talks, it is necessary that negotiations are held on Iran’s missile capabilities. Why can’t Iran negotiate over its missile program to fulfil both sides’ interests?

I would like to present a short history of these negotiations. Our negotiations beyond the ones with P5+1 —negotiations with the U.S. — were requested by U.S. officials. The Americans themselves asked for these negotiations, and their proposals date back to the time of the tenth administration.

So, the negotiations with the Americans began before the arrival of the current administration. They made a request and chose an intermediary. One of the honorable personalities in the region came to Iran and met with me. He said that the American president had called him, asking him to help. The American president said to him that they want to resolve the nuclear matter with Iran, that they would lift sanctions. Two fundamental points existed within his statements: one was, which he said, they would recognize Iran as a nuclear power. Second, he said that they would lift sanctions in the course of six months. Through that intermediary, he asked us to negotiate with them and to resolve the matter. I said, to that honorable intermediary, that we do not trust the Americans and their statements. He said, "Try once more." We acknowledged and replied "very well, we will try it this time." This was how negotiations with the Americans began.

Of course, we did not lose caution. From the beginning, we viewed with suspicion the foreign negotiators and the American side. We did not trust them because of our experiences; therefore, from the beginning, we entered into the negotiations with caution. We believed that if they kept their word, then so much the better. We, too, were prepared to make concessions. We do not believe that we shouldn’t make any concessions in a negotiation, and that we should not make a backwards movement on some issues. This was not the matter at hand. We were prepared to make some concessions in a reasonable and rational manner. However, we were after a good agreement. I should add, both we and the Americans speak about a good agreement; but when we speak about a good agreement, we mean a fair agreement. On the contrary, when the Americans speak about a good agreement, they mean a totalitarian agreement.

We had just begun to move forward with the negotiations when their excellences began to show their greed. Every day, they added something new, and every day they came up with a different excuse. Their six months became one year, and it even became longer with the passing of time. Negotiations began to take various forms. It was their haggling and greed that lengthened the negotiations. Besides, they issued threats. They threatened to impose more sanctions. They even threatened to launch military attacks. They issued threats "on the table" and "below the table" and other such things [audience laughs]. This is how their excellences [of USA] have behaved till this day. 
June 23, 2015

One of means of the Islamic Republic's national power is that supports national power, is our presence in the region. The powerful presence of the Islamic Republic, within the region, is a crucial element of national power. It reveals that the people are just powerful as they are. They [the enemies] want to destroy this. A certain European president – the Americans do not dare speak about negotiations with us – that European declares they want to discuss Iran's presence in the region. Well, actually, we should discuss your presence in the region! Why do you yourselves want to be present in this region? This is a means of national power; they want to take it away from the Islamic Republic.

Another means of national power is the country's defensive power; they yearn to strip this away, too, from the Islamic Republic. The reason why you see them create such uproar, striking up such fuss over the issue of [Iran's] missiles, is due to this. If a nation manages to send a proper response to one who launches a missile from a distance, well this is power. Today, the Islamic Republic has this power, but they want the Islamic Republic not to have it. They want to take away from our means of national power. 
Jan 9, 2018

The issue of the Islamic Republic is that the arrogant enemy is trying to bring the Revolution to its knees. With what? With the promotion of his culture, with his economic pressures, with all sorts of political efforts, with the vast scope of his propaganda and with treasonous elements that are at his disposal, he is trying to stir the environment of the Islamic Republic to make it move in his direction. What causes the elements of arrogance to be extremely angry at the Islamic Republic is not that the people of Iran are Muslims, rather the reason is that, because of being Muslim, the people are not willing to give in to arrogance. They are not willing to follow the enemy. This is why the enemy is angry. They are trying to cover up the real reason, but this is the truth of the matter. The nuclear issue was an excuse. Even the issue of missiles – they are constantly speaking about the issue of missiles, which is of course to no avail, and they cannot do a single thing about it – is an excuse. The issue of human rights and different other issues are all mere excuses. The real issue is our refusal to follow them.

If the Islamic Republic was willing to follow the enemy of arrogance, they [the enemy] would be fine with its missiles, with its nuclear energy, and with all kinds of things that exist in this regard, and they would never say anything about human rights. On the basis of divine teachings, the Islamic Republic is not willing to follow the arrogant and kafer enemy--the camp of kufr and arrogance. This is the main reason. All their efforts are focused on this. 

Of course, they try not to mention this, but their statements give them away. A few days ago, an American official listed their accusations against the Islamic Republic: Missiles, so-and-so, and “ideology”! This slipped from their tongue, and thus they gave themselves away. Ideology means a way of thinking: Islamic thinking that encourages you not to give in to the kafer enemy and in to the camp of kufr and arrogance.
This is what triggers enmity, and this is what brings you power at the same time. What brings Iran power is the motivation that has helped the people of Iran survive. It is this motivation that has helped the people of Iran to preserve their firm determination. This calls for resisting and preserving the revolutionary and Islamic identity, for the sake of the Islamic Republic and for the sake of the Iranian people. This is what the enemy is extremely angry about. And he has no other options. They tried very hard to dominate our decision-making and decision-building centers, but they failed, and by Allah’s favor and grace, they will continue to fail. 
May 23, 20

4) Where can the origins of U.S.’s opposition towards Iran’s missile program be traced back to?

Of course, the main enemy – against Iran and Iranians – is the regime of the United States. The issue is not about the American people: reason for this has already been mentioned. They were the owners of this country for many years. They used to control everything in our country, but the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic have taken these things away from them. That is why they have been angry and upset since day one. They imposed sanctions, hatched plots and magnified events. This is not something that has only just begun. Such tasks began long ago. In those days, neither the issue of nuclear energy or the issue of missiles, nor the issue of our influence in Western Asia – which they refer to as "The Middle East" – had been brought up. These things did not exist, but they began to fight because they were losing their control over the region. This is obvious. Well, we have managed to put an end to the US domination. We have completely cut off its authority – political, military and economic domination -- in our country. We have cut the hands of America from the region. 

Nevertheless, we have become powerful despite American hostility. This is important. It is an extremely important event for nations to see that, without being in the shadow of aggressive powers, a nation can grow and move forward. One can grow, move forward, and stand on their own feet despite hostility displayed by arrogant powers. We have shown this in practice. This makes them angry as well. The people of Iran became role models for other countries and nations, showing them that it is possible to stand up against aggressive powers, showing fearlessness in the face of an enemy and moving forward.
You know that these military achievements, missiles, and the other things, which they are upset about, have all been achieved during the time of sanctions. We were living under their imposed sanctions, sanctions in every arena! And, what has happened during this period of time has surprised them and frustrated them.

A few years ago, a report was delivered to me about an Israeli general. He had stated in an article – at that time we had just tested a missile, and the article was about one of the missiles tested a few years ago – that he was surprised to see Iran carry out such an achievement. Well, he was an expert: he understood these things. They see these things, via satellite and the like, and they can make correct evaluations. In an article, he mentioned, "I am an enemy of Iran, but I admire it because they accomplished this task despite the heavy sanctions that have been imposed on it." This was the gist of what he had stated. So, the enemy sees these things. 
Oct 18, 2017

5) Will the problem be solved if Iran withdraws from its missile program?

What this political analysis of the enemy means is that, if America wishes, the Islamic Republic should forget about its own defense mechanisms. You can see the uproar they have generated, around the world, on the issue of our missiles. They say, “Why does the Islamic Republic have missiles? Why does it have long-range missiles? Why do the missiles of Islamic Republic hit their target in a very precise manner?” They say, “Why have you carried out a military maneuver? Why do you have military exercises, and why this or why that?

This is while the Americans themselves carry out maneuvers from time to time in the Persian Gulf –which is several thousand kilometers away from their country-- and they do so along with some regional countries. They do this while they have no excuse of being in the region. However, when the Islamic Republic carries out a military maneuver--within its own region, in its own territory and its own security zones--they create pandemonium about our military operations on why we have adopted such measures, and why our Navy and our Air Force have adopted such courses of action.

This analysis of the enemy means that we should forget about all these things. The issue is beyond this. They will gradually draw the issues towards why the Quds Force and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps have formed, and why domestic policies of the Islamic Republic are coordinated with Islam. Matters will come to this!

If you retreat, while up against the enemy, when you can resist the enemy – later on, I will elaborate on this issue – the enemy will advance. He does not stop. Gradually, he will find the audacity to say that our beliefs in the Islamic Republic’s administration, the Islamic Consultative Majlis and the judiciary branch to work on the basis of Islam and Islamic sharia is against freedom, and that liberalism does not accept these beliefs. The matter will gradually come down to this.

If we retreat, this will encourage them to question the Guardian Council’s role in society. It will encourage them to question the Guardian Council’s power to repeal certain laws because of their opposition to sharia. This is the main point. This is what I have said many times: this is changing the inner conduct of the Islamic Republic. The outward appearance of the Islamic Republic might survive, but it will be emptied, completely, of its content. The enemy desires this scenario. On the basis the enemies’ analysis that is being injected into the minds of outstanding personalities and public opinion, if the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran want to end USA’s saber-rattling, they should abandon the Islamic Republic’s content, Islam, Islamic concepts and their security. 
Mar 20, 2016

6) The US regime considers Iran’s missile capabilities as a threat to the entire region and the world. Is this a valid concern?

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army and the other armed forces of the Islamic Republic honor Islamic commitments. They do not behave in a chaotic manner when they achieve a victory. They do not use forbidden weapons, and they do not carry out forbidden tasks when they are in danger. For a long time, our cities -- whether our border cities or later on Tehran, Isfahan and many other cities --- were the target of Saddam's savagely senseless attacks with missiles. Saddam's missiles used to strike different neighborhoods of Tehran. These were missiles that were equipped by and sold by European countries and guided by the Americans. It was they who identified targets for the Iraqis. Through aerial photography, military targets were given to the enemy and these missiles struck our cities and killed our defenseless civilians. They destroyed houses as well.

After some time, we acquired the ability to strike back. We too managed to build missiles and retaliate. We could strike cities -- including Baghdad -- which were within range. But Imam (r.a.) said to us, "If you want to hit a civilian area--areas other than military camps--you should announce on the radio that you want to strike those sites, so the people of Iraq can know to stay away.” Notice that such commitments are not usual in the world.

The armed forces of many countries--as far we know, almost all countries in the world--do not have these commitments. Today, you can see an example of this in Yemen. Before that, you’ve witnessed examples of such behavior in Palestine, Lebanon, and other areas. They do not have these commitments, but our Armed Forces abide by Islamic rules and observe them. If we have said that we do not use nuclear weapons, it is because of such commitments to Islam and to Islamic rules and regulations. This is one of the most prominent characteristics of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic.

Today, our enemies accuse the Islamic Republic of interfering in the affairs of certain countries. This is not true, we do not do this: we do not interfere in the affairs of any country. Of course, we put up a brilliant defense where we are attacked, but we do not interfere in the affairs of any country. We strongly oppose those who attack defenseless people and civilians, kill children, murder women and destroy houses. We announce our abhorrence and detestation of such elements because they do not know anything about Islam, nor do they know anything about human conscience. One characteristic of our Armed Forces is that they are committed to Islamic principles or divine laws. Divine laws should be observed at all times, either in times of war or peace. This is one of the characteristics of our Armed Forces.

This is the reason why our Islamic Republic of Iran Army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and other Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic are popular among the people. The people witness that the Armed Forces think and act like them, and that they have the same beliefs and care about the same values as they do. This strengthens the relationship between the people and the Armed Forces. This is another characteristic. 
Apr 19, 2015

7) On a final note:

Europeans should not be unanimous with the Americans [in USA]. If European governments say the same thing that the US government is saying if they ask why Iran is present in the region – well, what is it to you? Why should it not be present? Or when they echo the USA’s criticism on us having missiles with a range of two, three thousand kilometeres, this does not make sense. What is it to you? Why do you have missiles? Why do you have nuclear missiles? Why do you have atomic weapons? If they want to interfere in the defensive power of the Islamic Republic and speak against it, this cannot be done. We will not accept this from the Europeans in any way! They should not sing along with the US when it sings songs of foolishness. 
Oct 18, 2017