Iranian Diplomacy- In its first issue, Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly, published by Political Studies and Research Institute, features an interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the situation in the war-torn country and roots of the crisis. The interview is aimed to “help Iranian elite gain a better perception of what is happening in Syria between the pro-resistance and pro-surrender group”. Select quotes from Bashar Assad’s remarks come in the following”
- United States’ approach is to dominate other countries. The wars in which this country has engaged [since the fall of the Soviet Union] aim to reinforce this domination or target any entity that stands against it, particularly at a time when other world powers are becoming stronger and a sort of balance is taking shape.
- [Americans’] initial goal was to annihilate the Syrian country and society with all its belifes, identity, and historical approaches … The uproar over the president [of Syria] and the government was a ‘manufactured’ battle. The key battle is over the Syrian country.
- If there was no overall public satisfaction with the [Syrian] government, especially with its nationalistic and political approach, the government would not be able to resist for five years. The Syrian nation has supported the constitution and the government through elections. Public turnout in this year’s parliamentary election, and the presidential election in 2014, had no match in the Syrian history. This does not necessarily mean citizens are of the same political opinion with the government, but they see participation in election as a way to fight against terrorism and support the government.
- [West’s problem with Syria] is politically-driven. In Egypt and Tunisia, they wanted regimes that satisfied both the public and the foreign countries … but in Syria, they wanted to overthrow the government and replace it with a client state that turns Syria into an easy prey. That is why they support terrorists.
- Between 2008 and 2011, Nikola Sarkozy, as an intermediary of George Bush, asked me to convince Iranian leaders to accept the West’s proposal [for Tehran’s nuclear program], so Iran would hand its entire stockpile of nuclear material to the West without any guarantees. Naturally, I rejected the request, since it was unreasonable.
- When you rise as the victor in a war, you will become more powerful, not only politically, but socially and national, and that is what the West is afraid of [in Syria].
- Sectarian war in the Middle East started after the victory of Iran’s [1979 Islamic Revolution]. Wahhabi institutes run by Saudi Arabia were asked to stand against the Iranian revolution … and suddenly Iran was called a Shia country. Solidarity between various religious sects in Syria is more than the pre-war period. Crisis has created more awareness. If the Syrian army consisted of only one denomination, and defended only one denomination, it would have collapsed in a few months.
- A key part of the problem Syria is facing is the economic siege which may be even worse than the military war. Iran had a constructive role in this regard. When Ayatollah Khamenei realized this problem, he ordered economic support for Syria and that reduced the pain … He is a key strategic figure, observing the situation in Syria [as good] as I do, although he has not lived here like I did.