Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi cleric Mohsen Al-Awaji, which aired on Al-Daleel TV on April 8, 2011:
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2896.
Mohsen Al-Awaji: "The Shiite Arabs… I hate to have to use terms like 'Shiites' and 'Sunnis,' but it is Iran that forces me to do so. I met Iranians at several conferences. At times, I tried to adopt a moderate stance – which did not come without a price – and contain some of their provocations, but they just kept going on and on. It was as if they were trying to take revenge upon us – even the moderate among them. [International Union of Muslim Scholars head] Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, one of the giants of the Islamic nation, went to Qom to meet their leaders, but ultimately he realized that this was about revenge and triumph.
"The Iranians know full well that in pre-Islamic times, the Arabs defeated them in the Battle of Dhi Qar. They know full well that after the advent of Islam, the Arabs defeated the Persians at Al-Qadisiya and elsewhere. They know that when they rebelled against the Ottoman Caliph Selim I, distracting him from the Islamic conquests, he taught them a lesson in the famous battle of Chaldiran. They know this full well.
"I would like to warn the brothers in Iran that our moderate positions and our attempt to avoid extremism, as well the opposition we display to many of the actions of our own governments, must not be interpreted as willingness to go against our principles. Absolutely not.
"If Iran presents to the world its Safavid Persian identity, it must not criticize the Arabs for adhering to their Arab identity. I live in an Arab home, in an Arab country, and it is only natural for me to defend my home before defending the home of my neighbor.
"I supported Iran when it suffered injustice in South Lebanon. I say 'Iran' because there is no point in beating around the bush anymore… When Iran suffered injustice in South Lebanon, I supported it. When the West threatened to bomb Iran's nuclear project, which – according to Iran – is for peaceful purposes, I supported it against the West. I turned my back on the policy of my own government. I adopted this position because the general interest takes precedence over personal interests. I don't want Iran to stab us in the back with such irrational behavior." […]