March 19, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2279

'Kayhan' Editor: 'The Islamic Revolution Is More Alive Than Ever; The Export of Its Ideas Is at Its Peak'

March 19, 2009
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 2279

In an interview with the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari, an associate of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, referred to the revolution's achievements and to its influence in the Middle East. He stressed that the export of the revolution has peaked under Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and discussed the struggle of Iran and its allies Hizbullah and Hamas against the West.

Following are excerpts from the interview: [1]

"In the First Year After the Revolution, We Were Alone… [30 Years Later] We Have Many [Allies] Around the World… We Are the Leading Power in the Region"

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "What is the state of Iran [today], after 30 years of the Islamic revolution?"

Shariatmadari: "The [Islamic] Revolution is still alive in Iran. [In fact, after] 30 years, it is more alive than it ever was before. The revolution and its ideas are being exported to other Muslim countries.

"In the first year after the revolution, we were alone. We did not have many friends or allies around us who shared our convictions. Today the situation is different. We are no longer alone, but have many [allies] around the world.

"This can be seen in Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey and throughout the Islamic world. [In fact,] even some non-Muslim countries are supportive of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and have adopted its mottos and ideas.

"Thirty years after the revolution, we are the leading power in the region in terms of military [abilities], technology, science, medicine and nuclear technology."

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Why do you contend that the revolution is more alive today than ever before?"

Shariatmadari: "Because despite all the conspiracies aimed at weakening us, those who wish to destroy our revolution have failed to do so. The Iranians know that America is a bitter enemy of their country, and that its hostility has not waned in [the last] 30 years.

"[America has tried everything,] from sanctions to [various] plots aimed at weakening us. Today, it is still exhibiting the same [hostile] position towards our nuclear program, which shows that it wishes to halt Iran's progress. But that will never happen.

"Look at America's stance towards Hizbullah and Hamas, and at its plot to wage war on them in order to crush the resistance. Praise God, the war on Hamas lasted 22 days, after which the Zionist forces were forced to withdraw. The war on Hizbullah lasted 33 days, and the resistance won. Will the next war last [only] 11 days, and the one after than only one day? (laughs)...

"When the Islamic resistance stands [so] courageously, it is a sign that the revolution is alive while the plans of America and Israel are failing. That is why I say that the revolution is [now] at its strongest, more alive than ever before, and that the export [of its ideals to other countries] is more intensive than ever."

"The Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Resistance of Hizbullah… the Resistance in Palestine, and the Current Position of Turkey [All Show that] Geographic Boundaries Cannot Stop the Spread of the Resistance Ideology"

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "What do you mean when you talk about exporting the revolution today?"

Shariatmadari: "Geographic boundaries are no barrier to the spread of ideas. When our neighboring countries or [other countries] around the world see that Iran has independence, freedom and sovereignty, and that, after 30 years of war and destruction, America has been unable to crush it, they draw inspiration from this.

"Iran is a shining example of sovereignty and steadfastness in the face of arrogance and tyranny. The Islamic Revolution in Iran, the resistance of Hizbullah, the intifada and resistance in Palestine, and the current position of Turkey [all show that] everything changes, and that geographic boundaries cannot stop the spread of the resistance ideology. Many things have changed in the region since the successful Islamic Revolution 30 years ago.

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Some claim that... the numerous disputes among the various factions that led the revolution are still raging in Iran [today], and that, as a result, the revolution is not at its best."

Shariatmadari: "I do not like to use the word 'factions.' And I do not think that those who took part in the revolution disagree in terms of their support for [the revolution]. During the revolution, there were [various] streams and forces. If we examine [them], we find that [from the outset,] they did not all participate [in the revolution] to the same degree... [Moreover,] there were streams and figures that took part in the revolution and later forsook it and its path.

"If we examine [the situation] today, we see that [the forces in Iran] fall into [two categories]: the conservatives - and I prefer the term 'people of principle' - and the reformists. These two streams disagree on most issues, but before and during the revolution they did not quarrel or compete with each other. However, after the revolution, [under the rule of the reformists,] the positions of the regime's ruling [echelon] changed, and [the two streams] drifted apart. [But the reformists] were never against the revolution, and when we celebrate the revolution [today], we celebrate it together."

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "You speak of the reformists. Some say that, before the revolution, there was more freedom [in Iran] than there is today, and that the reformists are being subjected to pressure."

Shariatmadari: "That is not true at all. The answer is a matter of [presenting] the facts. In the Shah's era, there was no political freedom or freedom of thought in Iran. Prisons were full of political [prisoners]. There were [gaps] in socioeconomic status [between different population groups]. After the revolution, all that changed. The municipalities, parliament, and president are elected. There are active social movements, and the press is free to write whatever it wants..."

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Did [former] U.S. president George Bush inadvertently serve Iran's interests during his eight years in office?"

Shariatmadari: "I will answer by quoting a hadith attributed to the imam Zain Al-'Abidin bin Hussein bin Ali, [who said], 'Praise God for making our enemies fools.'"

"To Establish Any U.S.-Iran Ties, One of Them Must Change Its Principles and Its Way of Thinking; Iran Will Never Do This - Hence, It Is America That Must Change, and Must View Its International Relations in a New Light"

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Some accuse Iran of causing friction. For example, [U.S. President Barack] Obama wants to hold dialogue on the nuclear dossier, but Iran is setting conditions, demanding an apology for past crimes against it."

Shariatmadari: "I do not believe that Obama will speak about change. To date, there has been no real change in [U.S.] policy. Barack Obama is expressing the same positions as his predecessor, Bush. [Moreover,] he is very close to the Jewish organization AIPAC, and has aides who are loyal to Israel. Had there been any change, it would have been reflected in his positions.

"Following the Zionist war on Gaza, people throughout the world demonstrated in support of the Palestinians, and leaders around the world condemned the Zionists' attacks - yet Obama said nothing against Israel and its massacre. How can we [possibly] be pleased with him? On the day he was elected, Kayhan's headline was 'A Vulture in the Guise of a Dove.'

"[What is needed] is a fundamental change in America's thinking and conduct. Obama represents a small change. In order to establish any U.S.-Iran ties, one of them must change its principles and its way of thinking; Iran will never do this. Hence, it is America that must change, and must view its international relations in a new light..."

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Do you think that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will win the next presidential elections?"

Shariatmadari: "Ahmadinejad has many achievements, chief among them his [success in] revitalizing the revolution and bringing it back to its original ideals. I believe that he will be reelected. His measures vis-à-vis the threats of the West regarding our nuclear program have proved him correct.

"The West's problem is that it relates to Iran using the language of power, which is [now] obsolete. We live in an age in which no superpower can impose its control and its will upon the rest of the globe. It is a new world."


[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 17, 2009.

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