While the Iranian leadership continues its long-standing pattern of hostile declarations regarding the U.S. and Israel, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, daughter of senior regime official Hashemi Rafsanjan, who died under unclear circumstances in January 2017, called on the regime to change its policy vis-à-vis Israel. She said that it should prioritize the national interest over stubborn adherence to an ideology that in any case is not being uniformly implemented with the rest of the world's countries.
On October 6, 2020, Ms. Hashemi, a former Majlis member and women's rights activist, was asked about the normalization of relations between the Gulf countries and Israel. She replied that there is a need to update Iran's policy in all matters in order to move the country ahead – including in the issues of relations with Israel, fatwas, and Islamic law (fiqh) – so that the regime would be relevant. She spoke out strongly against the inconsistency of the Iranian regime, which focused on the ideological aspect in all things concerning the Palestinian Muslims, but which did not care about this aspect in its extensive dealings and relations with China and Russia, where Muslims are also oppressed. The regime shows a level of sensitivity on the Palestinian issue, she said, that exceeds the sensitivity to this matter existing in the rest of the Muslim world.
In contrast to Ms. Hashemi, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of coordination in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reiterated, in a television interview, the regime's positions on Israel and the U.S. Naqdi said that Iran was much closer to the Zionists' borders than people knew, and that Israel was surrounded by Muslim fighters with weapons at the ready. He clarified that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's statements that Israel would no longer exist within 25 years had been misunderstood, and that it would cease to exist much sooner than that. He also warned that any move Israel made against Iran's national security would be met with a decisive response.
Explaining that the U.S. was on the wane and was no longer a superpower, Naqdi said that if it went to war against Iran, it would face a catastrophe in which it would not know what military base in the U.S. would be bombed or what would happen to the White House. The IRGC, he added, was planning for the possibility of an attack by the U.S. He expressed his hope, however, that Iran's victory would be achieved without bloodshed, and that like the Prophet Muhammad's conquest of Mecca and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's return to Tehran, the Iranians would enter Jerusalem and reenact the Islamic conquest there. He concluded by pointing out the might of the IRGC and its ability to mobilize millions of volunteers from across the Islamic world, who would form an army 100 million strong that would join the Iranian army of 20 million.
The following are the main points of Ms. Hashemi's statements and of Naqdi's statements.
Faezeh Hashemi: Consider Relations With Israel In Terms Of A State Interest
In an interview published October 6, 2020 in the Iranian reformist daily Armanmeli, Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, discussed the Arab Gulf states' normalization with Israel and called on the Iranian regime to consider establishing relations with Israel.
Following her father's death, together with members of her family, Ms. Hashemi had accused the IRGC of assassinating her father, who was Expediency Council chairman and an Assembly of Experts member, and leader of the pragmatic stream in the country, because he was the leading critic of Khamenei's civil repression at home and of the absence of Iran-U.S. relations. Ms. Hashemi has been arrested several times, and served two six-month prison sentences for her criticism of the regime. She said in the interview:
"...The Zionist regime stole the Palestinians' land. The Zionist regime, with the support of Britain, the cooperation of certain Palestinians, and the oppressing and killing of others, took over the Palestinian territory. Not one of these facts can be denied. But when we look at history, we see that this regime has been recognized as a state by the UN since 1948, and Arabs and Jews live in it...
"We must be up to date in the international arena, and must make decisions according to our interests. Supporting Palestinian Muslims is a very valuable effort. The Palestinians are Muslims, and this land is sacred to the Muslims; killing and persecuting Muslims is evil, definitely evil...
"China causes suffering to the Uyghur Muslims; it forces them into labor camps, separates children from their families, and so on. And what about the [terrible] situation of the Chechen Muslims in Russia? We have very close relations with China and Russia, and we also give these countries credit. Don't we maintain relations with China, a communist state, and didn't we [do this] with the USSR, a communist state[?] Venezuela too is leftist; do we agree with it ideologically? Cuba and North Korea are also communist states...
"If we consider the matter of ideology in all these issues to be strong, then how do we analyze these relations [in Iran's foreign policy]? The world is a world of interaction, and if we do not join with other countries, we will be harmed. Other issues are marginal...
"Our policy is sometimes contradictory. For example, our athletes do not compete against [athletes] of the Zionist regime. But [some of the Arab countries] compete against them. We are ostensibly more sensitive [to the Palestinian issue than other Muslim countries are]. They [i.e. those countries that agree with us] have not responded as we did to the [Gulf states'] normalization of relations [with Israel]...
"We must insist on [adopting] a particular policy if it is good for our national interest. Following the UAE agreement with the Zionist regime, Qatar mediated between Hamas and the Zionist regime, and the two arrived at an agreement. Qatar and Oman approved the UAE agreement [sic; Qatar did not approve the agreement but Oman did]. We have good relations with Qatar and Oman. [Our] policy must be convincing.
Faiezeh Hashemi (Source: Mizanonline, May 18, 2015)
"Is the Zionist regime not in the Middle East now?... The Zionist regime is keen on normalizing relations with Muslim countries. Our vision must be aimed at protecting our national interests and the rights of the people and the national resources. In a word, it is a duty to preserve the regime, and a duty to preserve its aims. We must update all matters [on the agenda] based on national interests and resources, and the rights of the people.
"What country's policy remains static? We must update every matter. Fatwas and Islamic law [fiqh] must be updated – otherwise they will lose their supporters."
Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander Of Coordination In The IRGC: "If America Goes To War Against Iran, [It Will Face] Catastrophe"
Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of coordination in the IRGC, said in an interview on the "Unrestrained" TV program on October 9, 2020 that the U.S. was waning and no longer a superpower, and if goes to war against Iran it will face catastrophe. Iran, he said, is much closer to the Zionists' borders than anyone realizes, and Israel will cease to exist much more quickly than the 25 years set out by Khamenei. He also warned that any move Israel made against Iran's national security would be met with a decisive response. The following are the main points of his statements in the interview:
Naqdi: "A country that engaged in issuing threats whenever it could today cannot impose its will. America is no longer a superpower. It set a date to attack North Korea and Syria, but did not manage to do so. For 41 years it has wanted Iran to cease to exist, but [it] exists. For 30 years, it has wanted Hizbullah to cease to exist, and for 20 years it has wanted Hamas to be destroyed. For nine years, it has wanted Bashar Al-Assad to go. For five years, it has wanted to destroy Hashd Al-Sha'bi [in Iraq]. America cannot fight small powers, let alone a superpower like the Islamic Republic of Iran.
"They [the Americans] know what will happen to them all over the world if America goes to war with Iran – [it will face] a catastrophe in which it will not be able to think where in the world and in what [international] strait its ship will be sunk, what military base in America will be blown up, what will happen to the White House. Such a war is unpredictable.
Q: "Has the IRGC got a plan for that day [when the U.S. goes to war against Iran]?"
Naqdi: "There has absolutely been thinking [about a plan]. We are completely ready for any military aggression. We have conducted exercises in how to respond in the first minutes [of a U.S. attack], where we must strike, what people we must apprehend. Everything is planned, but we hope that this will be like the Prophet's conquest of Mecca and like the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini's arrival in Tehran [in 1979] – quiet and bloodless. With God's help, we will enter Jerusalem like this, and we will achieve this great victory. Do not doubt this, and the time [of Israel's destruction] is not [like] what they [i.e. Iranians] hang in the streets [i.e. signs with Khamenei's statement about Israel disappearing in another 25 years], because they have not properly understood the guidelines of the master [Supreme Leader] Khamenei.
"The Israeli prime minister said at the time of the [JCPOA] nuclear agreement [in July 2015] that [Israel's] security was [now] assured for 25 years. In response, the master [Khamenei] said: 'Be assured that you will not exist in 25 years.' [Khamenei] did not mean that [Israel] would survive for another 25 years [but] that it would disappear much earlier. You should put away those signs.
Mohammad Reza Naqdi (Source: Fars, Iran, October 9, 2020)
Q: "Are we in control of the region vis-à-vis the Zionists?"
Naqdi: "We are closer to the Zionists' [borders] than you can imagine. When the day comes, you will see how suddenly everything they have will fall apart. Thank God, both the Americans and the Zionists in the region are surrounded by fighters of Islam; the noise they make stems from their fear. Secret assassinations are taking place everywhere, but if they want to take steps against our national security, they absolutely will receive a severe response. As [Khamenei] said, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be turned to ashes, [and] we will liberate Jerusalem. If [any] movement begins, it will definitely not end, and the result surely will be the liberation of Palestine. Everything is ready; the forces are ready and trained, and they are sufficiently armed. There is a mighty potential both within Palestine, and outside it.
"They [the Arab countries] have recognized Israel for 40 years. They drank faloodeh [a cold sweet Iranian drink, together every night, but just never published the photos [of these meetings]. By the way, these secret relations were for their [the Arab countries'] interests, because they could play with and deceive their citizens [about these relations] and pull them [i.e. sway public opinion] in their direction. [But] now they [i.e. the Arab regimes] have became more fragile because of the humiliation [they suffered because of their normalization with Israel]... All this is not a sign of authority, but a sign that their defeat is coming, and that they are reaching their end.
Q: "Can you confirm that a minister in the Zionist regime is collaborating with Iran?" [a reference to former Israeli energy minister Gonen Segev who last year was sentenced to prison for spying for Iran]
Naqdi: "Indeed, many [Israeli] citizens are highly motivated to collaborate [with Iran]. Don't think that we are [the only ones] standing outside and saying this. [Even] within the Zionist regime... there are communities from various countries – the Russians, the Africans, the Iranians, the Iraqis – whom [the Israeli] regime has defrauded and who are not secure in their country and whom they [the Israeli regime] want to kill..."
Q: "Are all the implements that the IRGC displays ones that are [actually] at its disposal? What are the advantages of implements such as satellites that it launches into space?"
Naqdi: "Today, there is rivalry over space presence. Orbits are determined for the various countries, in which they can participate. If we are not present in them, these orbits will be taken over by others, and if we take part in them, they will belong to our country. This is essential. As a rule, the more we advance [in space], the more we can help improve the standard of living of the public in all areas...
"Some [countries, including the U.S.] knew from the outset that this organization [i.e. the IRGC] has today volunteers in all the Islamic countries, and that if they are called upon they will raise an army 100 million strong – as the Imam Khomeini planned for Iran – [that will] join an army of 20 million [Iranian troops]."