“The only reason that the Islamic Republic of Iran is still strong today is because of this mentality of resistance, and of not bowing to any except God, and standing tall, having honor and dignity and never compromising on core principles,” Shabbir Hassanally said in an interview with Tasnim.
“The problem the US has is that in the face of the resilience of the Resistance Axis and the Resistance Ideology, its punches are meaningless and have little effect, and its threats are weak,” he said, adding, “It knows it cannot defeat the resistance, it will make noises, but it knows it can never defeat this movement.”
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: A year after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and the European Union’s continued failure to ensure Iran’s economic rights under the deal, Tehran stopped honoring certain commitments in accordance with the text of the international accord. On Friday, the Islamic Republic took “the third step” in reducing its obligations under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It seems that these steps have had some good results as the European side is endeavoring to save the deal. What is your assessment of the outcomes of Iran’s nuclear steps and especially the third step?
Hassanally: Firstly, I should make clear my position on the entire issue of the JCPOA. I feel that while it achieved the objective of exposing the true nature of the American regime, in that, it (the US) honors no accord or deal, ultimately, it was never going to be successful. A deal with the devil is always doomed to failure. My position regarding this still-born deal was based on the numerous advice positions of Imam Khamenei, as well as the historical experiences that other nations who have had the misfortune to deal with the United States administration have experienced. Iran of all countries is well aware of the treacherous nature of the US Administration, examples exist which expose their reality, such as the Algiers Accords, that was betrayed before even the ink had dried.
Sadly, the same was the case with the JCPOA. When it was signed by the US Administration under Obama back in July of 2015, certain sanctions might well have been removed by the United Nations, however, those same sanctions (and their corresponding secondary sanctions) were immediately re-applied by the US Administration (under the guise that they are for ‘other reasons’) unilaterally.
This was fully predictable. Now, when Trump ascended the throne of the American Empire, he decided he wanted to fully and officially pull out of the JCPOA, and so he did. He also immediately implemented the so-called “snap-back” regime, that while a system that was designed to be invoked should Iran break the deal, it was instead invoked by the US against Iran, when the US broke the JCPOA’s terms.
When that happened, the European nations that were and are also signatories to this accord should have immediately applied punitive sanctions upon the United States, as a punishment for its lack of adherence to the rule of law.
They didn’t. They didn’t even try. They complained somewhat, certainly, but bowed down to the US administration’s desire and did absolutely nothing. Sure, they didn’t themselves leave the JCPOA, this is because they don’t wish to look like the “bad guys”, rather, they continued to pander to the US – with token statements from various European countries in support of Iran’s rights, but nothing of great substance.
Painful and indeed completely illegal sanctions then continued to be applied to the Islamic Republic. Europe continued to watch, and do, frankly speaking, very little. The only time the Europeans began to run around a little (though still not particularly effectively) was when Iran began to declare that since it’s rights vis-a-vis the JCPOA were not being respected, that it would begin to cut down on its commitment within the JCPOA.
It is important to mention at this juncture that since the JCPOA has optional and mandatory components, Iran has thus far not broken its commitment to any of the mandatory components; and since Iran is a country that abides by the rule of law and decency, it will not break its commitments; rather as is discussed further in this document, it reserves the right to suspend its commitments (not break, there is a difference) to certain articles of the JCPOA.
The European countries then realized that Iran was not going to capitulate, that it was firm and resistive, that the American gambit was failing catastrophically, and their pandering to, albeit clandestine abiding to, the edicts of Washington was not going to hold water, and that Iran was not some weak country that would bend the knee to the tyranny of the tyrants.
Since it is the month of Muharram, it is befitting to use an example of Imam Hussein (AS) here to elaborate on the position adopted by the Islamic Republic under the guidance of Imam Khamenei: The same way that Imam Hussein (AS) said to the tyrant Yazeed: “Someone like me cannot give allegiance to someone like you”, the Islamic Republic of Iran (indeed the entire Resistance Axis), tells the American Empire and its allies and minions, that: “People like us, cannot and will not bend the knee to someone like you”.
After this short preamble, coming to your actual question, the way that Iran has handled this massive and public betrayal by the international community - while America is the one that waves the flag, the entire international community that abides by these draconian and illegal US sanctions is responsible for this crime - is an example, and one that I am sure will be studied by students of international law and political science for generations to come.
Again, we can leverage an example from Karbala. Where while it was Imam Hussein (AS) and the 72 pure souls that defended and fought for Truth alone, there were many who stayed silent and did nothing, who did not actively fight against Imam Hussein (AS) in Karbala but remained silent. These ones who were silent are also completely culpable and responsible for the massacre of innocents in Karbala.
When Truth is at stake, and in this context, Iran carries the flag of Truth, anyone who even stays silent and doesn’t oppose the injustice that is being meted out on the Islamic Republic, is a partisan of the ones committing the crime, and equally culpable. History will judge the silent ones in the same way as the ones who actively attack Iran.
It is important that the world, the international community understand this. There is no neutrality in the stance of Truth against Falsehood. This is a reality that must be understood and accepted.
Iran’s policy has been one filled with bravery and honor. It has forced the Europeans – in order to save face and appear to be ‘impartial’ and supportive of an international agreement they have signed – it has forced them to create this “instrument” known as INSTEX – which while created and as far as the world is told, “in place”, has yet to yield any real fruits.
But it forced them to act, and act in opposition (at least on the surface) to the desires of the American Administration. This is important from the perspective of (to quote an American marketing term) “optics”. It shows the population that the EU is committed to the JCPOA, that it cares about international accords and agreements, and that it is not as wanton in its arrogance as the US.
This is very important, as at least in the public eye, it creates the perception of a rift between Washington and the EU. As for the third step, this shows the honor with which Iran operates, and America would do well to learn from this. Iran has said, as its third-step, it will suspend (not put aside – but suspend, for now), it’s commitments in the JCPOA. This is valid and fair.
The EU and the US – essentially the P5+1 – have essentially suspended their adherence to the JCPOA, Iran is fully within its rights to do the same. In fact, the US – a part of the so-called JCPOA – has not only suspended but actually has reneged on its commitments and indeed has torn up the JCPOA.
Iran for its part is not doing that, it doesn’t need to. Rather, Iran will suspend its adherence to elements of the JCPOA, until such time as the EU get their act together and start to behave like adults and be responsible. They signed a commitment, not only the US, the US, in fact, is only 1 part of the P5+1, so out of 7 signatories, if 1 decides to renege, that doesn’t mean everyone has to tear up the agreement. While the US might have a veto in the UN Security Council – and that is another discussion for another day – within the JCPOA it doesn’t have any sort of veto.
The Europeans have a duty to abide by their commitments. To ensure the free trade of Iranian oil and other products, as well as allowing the Islamic Republic of Iran to import and export as well as procure any data-x-items it needs – regardless of what the American Empire might say or want.
Europe needs to provide a clear system for countering these so-called “secondary sanctions” – which are essentially the American Administration exercising extra-territorial power outside its own territory, and essentially acting as a World Empire.
This is a behavior that counters all international norms and practices. If Europe continues to pander to these secondary sanctions, if it allows them to prevent European companies from trading with the Islamic Republic, Europe should understand that it is in no way independent, and is – publically evidenced – as a vassal state of the American Empire.
So, the Islamic Republic in its resistive stance. It’s not bending the knee – even a little. It’s staying firm, and declaring that it will – as did Imam Hussein (AS) in Karbala in the face of massive odds – that they will never succumb to humiliation, it has essentially broken the scheme of the Empire and exposed its lackeys for what they are.
Those lackeys now have a choice, with the third phase of Iran’s resistive approach. They can either declare they are vassal states, or rise up and show they are truly independent and can counter Washington and reject its demands. What they will actually do? Well, I suppose it would be fair to say, only time will tell – but I think many who are of understanding, know exactly how Europe will behave – sadly.
Tasnim: As you know, Iran’s policy of “active resistance” against US bullying and unilateralism has borne good results. In the latest instance, Iran’s supertanker Adrian Darya, formerly known as Grace-1, was recently released by the government of Gibraltar despite a US request to continue its detention. In another development, the US recently announced plans to create a new security initiative in the Persian Gulf by forming a coalition against what it calls an Iranian threat. The US has asked its allies, including Germany, Japan, France, to join the coalition but the call has not been warmly welcomed by them. What do you think about Iran’s policy and the concept of resistance?
Hassanally: This is a very interesting question. I want to take hours discussing this, but I will refrain and say only this much. The approach of resistance is the only way that a bully can and should be dealt with. If a person who is bullied ever panders or succumbs to the desires of the bully, then that will only empower the bully. The only approach is to stand firm, if required to be injured, but to continue to stand firm, and never bow down. In time, the bully – who is by its nature weak and pathetic – will break.
The nature of a bully requires that its opponent capitulates in the face of the bully’s “overwhelming power”. What the world needs to understand regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran is that it is governed by Islam, that it only bows down and bends the knee to God, the Most High, and none other.
The event of the Grace-1/Adrian Darya-1 supertanker is one such example of standing up to the bully. The British government of Gibraltar passed a specific law allowing them to seize ships that were deemed to be breaking some law, regardless of how grey the area or arbitrary the reason – and in this case based on ‘intelligence’ (in reality, hearsay), from the American Empire. Once it was required that the supertanker be released, the US tried once more to try to impound the ship, attempting to apply pressure on London to capitulate and force Gibraltar to hand over the ship. At this point, even London realized that the game was up. That they couldn’t play this game any longer.
This was only because Iran had stayed firm throughout the episode. Britain knew what was – and is – at stake, and while the UK might make lots of anti-Iran propaganda, with the chaotic fiasco of Brexit looming, the British regime is unable to cope with any international adventure at this time. To quote an Iranian euphemism, the old Satan (Shaytan-e-Peer) has become even older and more decrepit and is more of a threat to itself than anyone else.
The British regime knew that it will work out negative for it – both in terms of its position with its European “allies” and the JCPOA, as well as its own shipping interests – that with Brexit looming, become more and more important.
Britain cannot afford a war or even a minor skirmish with Iran – or anyone for that matter. Its economy is in tatters, its political system in absolute chaos on account of the self-inflicted chaos of Brexit.
It, therefore, had to back down, and allow the Adrian Darya-1 to go about its way, unhindered – after having inconvenienced it for a period. It failed to make Iran bend the knee, and it will always fail. This is a reality that the world needs to understand. Anyone who has already bent the knee to the Most High, cannot bend the knee to any other, let alone to the most debased.
As for the “coalition of the willing” that the US is attempting to put together as a precursor to a military adventure against the Islamic Republic of Iran, well, this will – and indeed is – failing catastrophically. There are multiple reasons for this, but primary amongst them is as follows.
Any country, when looking at a military adventure, looks to its military staff. While politicians might well speak in saber-rattling terms, the military personnel, the generals, will take a colder more strategic and tactical look at the scenario. They will examine and understand the risks involved in a given adventure.
In this regard, the countries of the world – including the US and so-called “Israel” – who are the chief warmongers against the Islamic Republic and the Resistance Axis – know full well, that they are unable to withstand any defense made by the Islamic Republic.
We can see a microcosm of this. When the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon was attacked by the Zionists with drones, (Hezbollah Secretary General) Seyed Hassan Nasrallah made a promise of a response. Since the moment that promise was made, there was chaos in the northern part of Occupied Palestine. The Zionists soldiers were terrified, the politicians were losing control of their bodily functions. They were petrified.
This was further evidenced by the response – legitimate and completely legal response – made by the Islamic Resistance – Hezbollah – where videos are testimony to the abject terror that was cast into the hearts of the Zionist stormtroopers, such that in cases, they were totally losing control of their bodily functions.
Now, given that the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon is a close ally of the Islamic Republic, and that in comparison the Islamic Resistance military arm is but a fraction of both the capability and size of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces, even with all their might, the powers of the world know that defeating Iran is impossible. They have said as much – if they felt that it was possible, then sanctions would never have been used except as a means to “soften up the target” as was the case in Iraq. Iran in no way is Iraq.
Also, let us not forget the influence of Iran and “just a few military advisers” with regard to Syria and Iraq and those countries’ defense of themselves from the scourge of DAESH – a project that was backed fully and sponsored by the US Administration and the so-called “State of Israel” and bankrolled by the so-called “Saudi” regime.
A project that also failed catastrophically – regardless of what the US president might say to the world (and of course he has to say this – otherwise what face will he have left?!) – a project that cost trillions of US Dollars, that was destroyed by the faith, belief, strength, and resistance of the entire Resistance Axis (of course with support from Russia also).
Another project is where they have tried to break the Resistance Axis in is Yemen. Again, a project that is causing so-called “Saudi” Arabia’s economy to essentially die, that is yielding no results and even after nearly 5 years of constant war, the “Saudi” regime has achieved absolutely nothing – apart from the hate of the global population, and the massacre of thousands of innocents in Yemen. In terms of military objectives, it has achieved nothing, and indeed is finding that the Yemeni Resistance is getting stronger and making more gains with each passing day.
The countries of the world are not blind. They know what any adventure against the Islamic Republic of Iran will cost them. On top of that Seyed Hassan Nasrallah has clearly said that any adventure against Iran will set the region ablaze. This has multiple consequences, but chief amongst them for these Western countries is that the supply of oil and gas will be severely crippled, forcing the price of oil per barrel to sky-rocket. This is intolerable for these countries.
They are all in denial but for the most part Europe is in the starting throes of a recession, the UK is completely pointless, and about to self-implode, Japan and South Korea are in a trade war. The western world is in chaos, and the last thing they can afford or need is a war.
The only entity that requires war in order for its economy to at least give the illusion of recovery is the US. However, the people of the US are extremely war-weary and are tired of war. US soldiers are tired of constantly fighting wars in far-away lands and then being treated like garbage on their return. While Hollywood might be promoting war and violence, the average person in the US, at least from my research, is not in favor of any war anywhere, and indeed one of the slogans that the current US president, Donald J Trump, hypocritically came to power on was that he didn’t want to engage in extra-territorial wars, but that he wanted to focus on “making America great again”.
The US Administration wants a war, but it wants someone else to fight the war for them. At this time, I believe that it cannot find anyone (except perhaps so-called “Saudi Arabia” – but the problem with Saudi is that the Saudis can’t tie their own shoe-laces, let alone handle a full-on war. The Yemenis with their slippers and stones are destroying the Saudis and their so-called “coalition”, so what possible hope do these desert-dwelling illiterates have against the seasoned and well-trained military of the Islamic Republic of Iran?) to fight its war. As a result – I believe, when Imam Khamenei says there will be no war, he means like this.
The primary reason for the lack of appetite for war is because of the resistive approach that Iran has taken. All the world knows that Iran will not be a cakewalk. Any war with Iran will not be the same as the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan. Rather any adventure in Iran will not only change the face of the region but it will change the face of the world.
No country is so stupid as to want to be involved in such a catastrophe, or indeed to want such a catastrophe. Had Iran not had a resistive approach, had Iran appeared weak, then for sure, they would not have realized how catastrophic any adventure against Iran would be, and they would have tried. Iran projecting its strength – politically and militarily – is extremely important. This is amongst the reasons why the US has explicitly targeted the ballistic missile program and space programs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They ensure its independence and strength. This is something the US cannot tolerate.
This is why the US will be unable to build any sort of viable coalition against Iran, and its adventures will remain but a pipe-dream, but one that will become its worst nightmare should it make the move to act upon any dream of an adventure in Iran. The generals in the US know this. This is also amongst the reasons why Imam Khamenei has said that there will be no war.
Tasnim: Despite Washington’s policy of “maximum pressure” and its most severe sanctions against Tehran, the Islamic Republic has been able to control prices and inflation in the country through adopting certain financial strategies which are in line with the policy of “resistance economy”. What is your take on that? Do you think that the resistance will work in the future?
Hassanally: The only reason that the Islamic Republic of Iran is still strong today is because of this mentality of resistance, and of not bowing to any except God, and standing tall, having honor and dignity and never compromising on core principles.
This resistance approach is an eternal approach, it cannot fail, as long as there is loyalty to the Truth, submission to God, and strength in the face of threats, but compassion when dealing with the weak – then this will guarantee that the Islamic Republic of Iran not only weathers these illegal sanctions but that it rises above that – as indeed it is starting to do – and renders the entire policy of sanctions and economic warfare impotent.
Washington can do what it wants, but when I see this statement from the US that it wants to “exert maximum pressure” on Iran, I am reminded of Imam Khomeini, may God rest his pure soul, where he said clearly and with full confidence and belief that “America can’t do a damn thing”. This is the reality.
I will finish with a simple story, an idea that I feel explains the situation between Islamic Iran and the American Empire very clearly. The American Empire is a spoilt teenager, it is barely out of nappies and has the arrogance of youth, in terms of geopolitical existence. It is less than 500 years old. Whereas Iran is a country that has a history of more than 3,000 years, and Islam itself in Iran is nearly 1,400 years old.
So, it is like an infant trying to beat up on a fully mature and experienced adult. The arrogant youth has no choice and will have to behave when it finally goes too far and is punished by the adult. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been very patient, and very astute and very calm in the face of the tantrums of the United States. Iran has operated with honor and dignity in all areas, while the US is without honor, it is bullish, and constantly tries to intimidate, constantly threatening violence. This is an approach taken by an entity that has no real power or dignity, it thinks with its fists. It is the approach of a spoilt brat, an unruly teenager who has never learned any form of discipline and lacks any form of decency or honor.
The problem the US has is that in the face of the resilience of the Resistance Axis and the Resistance Ideology, its punches are meaningless and have little effect, and its threats are weak. It knows it cannot defeat the resistance, it will make noises, but it knows it can never defeat this movement.
For this reason it lies pathologically – the Israelis, and Saudis lie about Iran and the Resistance, look at the lies about Iran giving weapons to Yemen they make when they are destroyed by our brothers in Yemen, they make out like Iran has done this. This is the fear they have.
This is more reason why Imam Khomeini’s statement “America can’t do a damn thing” rings true today, rang true yesterday and will continue to ring true.
After all, we are taught and indeed know that Satan is destined to be the loser in the face of the Truth. This is an example – that also since we are in the nights of Muharram – that is taught in Karbala by Imam Hussein (AS), the fact that Truth will always prevail regardless of the perceived odds.