August 10, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1242

Iranian and Russian Reactions to the Lebanon Crisis

August 10, 2006
Lebanon, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 1242

The following are statements on the crisis in the Middle East, made August 8 and 9, 2006 by Iranian leaders and Russian officials.

Iranian Reactions

*Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: "The U.S., the Zionists and Malicious European Superpowers Seek to Root Out Islam from the Region"

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said, at a traditional Shiite celebration marking the birth of 'Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, that "today, it is the duty of entire Islamic society to defend Hizbullah... The Muslim peoples are currently in the grip of two terrible realities: [One is] the ongoing catastrophe in Lebanon and Palestine and the massacre of innocent children and [civilians] at the hands of the Zionist regime, [and the other] is the division [that exists] among the Muslim countries, which is especially [due to the behavior of] some Arab countries that watch [the events] and keep silent. Such behavior is entirely wrong and harmful...

"Encouraging division between Sunnis and Shiites has always been a tool used by the enemies to paralyze the Muslims... Division is a lethal poison for the Muslim world, and any move that creates division among Muslims and thus helps the enemies constitutes an act of treason against the Muslim world...

"The U.S., the Zionists, and some malicious European superpowers such as Britain seek to root out Islam from the region, since it has stood in the way of their greedy aspirations."

Khamenei added that "today, the most important duty of the Muslim nation... is to struggle and [wage] jihad for the sake of Allah, in order to restore the Muslims' scientific, moral and individual glory as well as their Islamic pride, and in order to overcome their backwardness." [1]

*Iranian President Ahmadinejad Calls for a Ceasefire and Opposes the American-French Proposal

In a telephone conversation between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan, the Iranian president emphasized "the need for courageous action" on the part of the secretary-general in order to achieve an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon. Following is a report on the telephone conversation from the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is affiliated with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei:

"In this conversation, which was initiated by the U.N. secretary-general, Ahmadinejad expressed his concern… about the indifference of the international authorities to the aggression of the Zionist regime, and added that if [the situation] explodes, it will be uncontrollable, and it will not be limited [just] to the region.

"Emphasizing that the U.N. secretary-general is presently charged with a great task - that is, to firmly defend the rights of the Lebanese nation -… he said: 'You have almost finished your term [as U.N. secretary-general], and you are in a position to prevent the continuance of the crimes of the Zionist regime, [and the crimes of] America and England, who, as the two main supporters of this regime, are constantly beating the drums of war.'

"Ahmadinejad characterized the ceasefire draft proposal… that was presented to the Security Council as serving the security and interests of the Zionist regime, and added: 'Lebanon is an independent state, and if this resolution, which safeguards the aims of the Zionist regime that is occupying Jerusalem, is brought for ratification, it is unthinkable that the Lebanese nation will yield to this dictate." [2]

*Ayatollah Hamedani Opposes the U.S. Draft Resolution, Calls for Jihad and Prays for Nasrallah's Victory

In a meeting in the city of Qom with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Hussein Nouri Hamedani condemned "the indifference of some clerics in the Muslim world to the massacre of Muslims in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan."

The ayatollah added that "a nation that does not don the cloak of jihad, Allah will dress in a cloak of suffering... Islam intends the Muslims to be fighters with [religious] fervor, who know the enemy and act with the maximal effectiveness to counter his ploys.

"Today, Muslims are being slaughtered by the thousands on Muslim soil, yet some [Muslims] are indifferent [to their brothers' fate]..."

In a letter to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, Ayatollah Hamedani urged him "to continue on his path and stand fast against the plans of the Global Arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] and against the proposed ceasefire that will [only] bring suffering. The entire Muslim nation in Iran, and I as well, come together in mosques, at the holy places and in ceremonies to pray for your victory." [3]

*Ali Akbar Velayati: "If the Zionist Regime Continues Its Aggression, It Will Suffer Further Harm"

Khamenei's foreign policy advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, made the following statements at an international conference titled "The Zionist Aggression: Regional and Global Repercussions":

"A new Middle East will certainly be born, but it will be different from [the new Middle East] that the U.S. wishes to create... The countries of the region have known for some time that they are capable of defeating the paper tiger, [namely] the Zionist regime that was created by the superpowers... If the Zionist regime continues its aggression against Lebanon, it will suffer further harm, while Hizbullah will continue to stand solid as a mountain. The U.S. and the West now mean to implement certain parts of U.N. resolution 1559 which they failed to implement [in the past]. They mean to realize part of their 'New Middle East plan' in Lebanon and Palestine. But Lebanon and the Muslim world will not yield to their malicious intentions." [4]

*Revolutionary Guards Commander Threatens U.S. and Israel

The Iranian daily Kayhan reported that Revolutionary Guards Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi declared that "if America and Israel wish to [make] any provocation or [carry out] any stupid act against Iran, [they should know that in response], they will undoubtedly receive a blow a hundred times more powerful... and they will not be able to withstand the raging sea of the people's [wrath], or the power and capabilities of the Islamic [Republic of] Iran..." [5]

Russian Positions

*Russian Ambassador to the U.N.: Russia Cannot Support a Resolution That is Not in Lebanon's Interests

Russia's Ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin announced that Russia could not support the draft U.N. Security Council resolution on the crisis in Lebanon, since it was "of no use" to the Lebanese government: "As far as we are concerned, of course, a draft that is of no use to the Lebanese side must not be adopted, since it will only lead to the continuation of the conflict... Intensive efforts... are currently being made in order to try and come up with a draft resolution that is more acceptable to the Lebanese government. It is hard for me to say when this will happen, since the Israeli side also has to agree [to the new draft]." [6]

*Russian Responses to American Sanctions on Russian Arms Export Companies

The U.S. recently imposed sanctions on two Russian arms export agencies: RosoboronExport, which, according to Iranian reports, is headed by a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the state-owned company that manufactures Sukhoi fighter jets.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in response to the sanctions: "It is possible that America seeks to weaken Russia and to impose restrictions on global markets which favor hits own arms [export] companies." [7]

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said: "[The imposing of sanctions] looks like unfair competition. It was an unfriendly act towards Russia and it was not done in a spirit of cooperation... We can not rule out further negative consequences for [U.S.-Russia] relations [as a result of the sanctions]."

It should be noted that, last month, the Russian RosoboronExport agency announced a $3 billion arms deal with Venezuela, which had been signed during a visit by Venezuelan President Chavez to Moscow. Russia also signed a contract last year to sell Tehran TOR-M1 ground-to-air missile systems, and to modernize Iran's Russian-made fighter-jets, bombers and military helicopters. [8]

[1] ISNA, August 8, 2006.

[2] Kayhan (Iran), August 9, 2006.

[3] Kayhan (Iran), August 9, 2006.

[4] Tehran Times (Iran), August 9, 2006.

[5] Kayhan (Iran), August 9, 2006.

[6] Tehran Times, August 9, 2006.

[7] Kayhan (Iran), August 9, 2006.

[8] Tehran Times, August 9, 2006.

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