On March 5, 2020, it was announced that senior Iranian official Hossein Sheikholeslam had died of the coronavirus. He was advisor to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and secretary-general of the Tehran-based Committee for Support for the Palestinian Intifada. Prior to that, he was advisor for international affairs to Majlis speaker Ali Larijani, and was Iran's ambassador to Syria. He was also one of the founders of Hizbullah in Lebanon.
Twitter.com/Khaaasteh/status/1235644938781589507, March 5, 2020
The following are MEMRI TV clips of Sheikholeslam:
Hossein Sheikholeslam: 150,000 Missiles in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza Are Meant to Deter Israel and the U.S. and Are Worth Our Investment; Israelis Should Leave to Europe – August 27, 2019
Sheikholeslam said in an August 27, 2019 interview on Ofogh TV (Iran) that Iran has invested in the "huge defensive and strategic endeavor" of deploying roughly 150,000 missiles in Lebanon, Syria, and the Gaza Strip that are meant to be launched at Israel at Iran's discretion. He said that since the U.S. has defined Israel's national security as part of its own national security, this strategy is Iran's greatest deterrent against both countries, and he claimed that Israel would have certainly attacked Fordow, Bushehr, and Natanz dozens of times were it not for Iran's missiles in these countries.
Sheikholeslam went on to say that a ballistic missile launched from Iran would take eight minutes to get to Israel and would be detected by American and NATO radars in the region. In contrast, he explained that missiles launched from Lebanon would start a rapid descent almost as soon as they can be detected and monitored. He added that Iran does not intend to drive Israel into the sea or to use nuclear weapons against it. Rather, he said, Iran's military capabilities are exclusively for purposes of deterrence and that Iran simply wants the Zionists to "understand" that they have violated the rights of the Palestinians and to leave the region, especially since they "have citizenship in several European countries anyway." Following are excerpts.
Hossein Sheikholeslam: "It is true that we have invested in our strategy. We are no longer doing this, but our investment was not great compared to our gain. For example, Mr. Netanyahu and the Americans say that 150,000 Iranian missiles – which Iran has the prerogative to activate – are deployed in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. If anything happens... This is according to what they say... We wanted them to know that we have this capability. These [missiles] will be launched by Iran's order and will target Israel, which has an atomic bomb and is threatening us, and which is supported by America and threatening us. America has defined Israel's national security as part of its own national security. These [missiles] constitute our greatest deterrence against America and Israel. True, we have to invest in that. Of course, there are others who are with us, like our dear [allies] in Hizbullah, and people among the Palestinians and in parts of Syria, as well as many Iraqis. Israel is now officially and publicly attacking the storehouses of these missiles.
"According to them, 150,000 missiles – accurate and influential missiles – have been transported there, and someone needs to show how to use them and to repeatedly restock the fuel and explosives supplies... This is a huge endeavor. We say "150,000 missiles" just like that. Mr. Netanyahu says it just like that, but this is an enormous defensive and strategic endeavor. This is the reason you are sitting here peacefully. Without this, they would have definitely attacked Fordow, Bushehr, and Natanz dozens of times.
"A missile launched from Iran would take eight minutes to reach the Zionist regime. In light of the act of evil done in Turkey, where they allowed the deployment of a NATO radar in southeastern Turkey, and with the help of the radars that the Americans keep in the Persian Gulf, in the UAE, in Qatar, and elsewhere where they have access to radars... They can monitor ballistic missiles we fire at the Zionist regime, and they can react. But when a missile is fired parabolically from Lebanon, by the time it reaches its maximum altitude and can be monitored, the force of gravity... When the missile is launched, it starts at the zero point and must overcome the force of gravity, and this is why its ascent is slow. But when it reaches its maximum altitude, it descends rapidly, because it is assister by gravity. This is why these missiles are so dangerous, and this is why it is so important to [deploy them] close to the Zionist regime.
"None of us believe – like many have said – that we will drive Israel and the Zionists into the sea, or [use] and atomic bomb... It's not like that at all. Everything we have is meant for deterrence. We never want to use these means to kill people. Besides, our goal is to build people up. We want to make the Zionists understand: You have plundered the rights and the lands of the Palestinians. Now leave. You have citizenship in several European countries anyway."
Hossein Sheikholeslam: Palestine, Jerusalem Will Soon Be Liberated; Iranian Companies Will Play Leading Role in Syria's Reconstruction – February 27, 2019
Sheikholeslam said in a February 27, 2019 interview on IRINN TV (Iran) that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had told Iranian Vice-President Jahangiri that Iranian companies will play a leading role in Syria's reconstruction and the return of the refugees. He said that the missiles deployed in Syria offer protection from American and Israeli aggression and suggested that U.S. President Trump is a "tyrannical king." Explaining that the connection between Syria and Iran is in pursuit of a sacred goal, Sheikholeslam added that Palestine and Jerusalem will surely be liberated soon and that the first thing the Zionists should do is leave the Golan Heights.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below
Hossein Sheikholeslam: "Syria is heading towards reconstruction and the return of the refugees. According to what Mr. Bashar Al-Assad said to [Iranian Vice-President] Jahangiri, our companies will lead the way in this matter. Iranian companies will have a priority. It is true that our blood was spilt along with the blood of the Syrians in order to defend the independence and the free will of the people. It is natural for us to have a leading role [in Syria’s reconstruction], and Allah willing, we will. The second point is that the Zionist regime has become weak. Let me quote Mr. Netanyahu, who said that Syria is a place where tens of thousands of missiles are deployed – all directed at the Zionist regime and its important areas. This protects our national security against the aggression of America and the Zionist regime.
"There is a difference between a tyrannical king who sends his CIA-educated foreign minister to meet Mr. Netanyahu, and a picture like the [one before us], which shows the connection between many peoples for a sacred goal. I have no doubt whatsoever that Palestine and Jerusalem will be liberated. I also made the following proposal: The first thing that the Zionist should do is leave the Golan Heights."
Hosssein Sheikholeslam: The Americans Perpetrated 9/11 – July 10, 2007
Following are excerpts from an interview with Sheikholeslam which aired on Jaam-e Jam 2 TV on July 10, 2007.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below
Hossein Sheikholeslam: "[The Americans], using their creation, Al-Qaeda, carried out the events of 9/11. 9/11 prepared the ground for their attack on the region, using all possible means. One good question that arises is: If nobody knew in Advance what time the first airplane was supposed to hit the first tower, how come there were several professional cameras that zoomed in to film the event? This is understandable with regard to the second tower, because the first tower was already in flames. All the journalists present were zooming in on the first tower, when the second plane came and hit the second tower. That's how they filmed it. But professionally filing the attack on the first tower, from different angles, if nobody had prior knowledge that it was going to happen... So I am certain that it was planned by the Americans and Mr. Bush, whose major investments are in weapons and oil. [The Americans] carried it out, at the expense of the region and the American people, and at the expense of the Europeans and others. That is how they got us to the current situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, they cannot even get out of there, end this battle, and leave."
Interviewer: "Do you think that the Americans anticipated that it would come to this?"
Hossein Sheikholeslam: "In my opinion, the Americans created this situation, and what is happening today, is a scenario prepared in advance. Now the conflict in the elections between the Democrats and the Republicans focuses on seeking a way to get out [of Iraq]. But America in its entirety – both the democrats and the Republicans – is incapable of resolving this problem, because it got itself stuck in a quagmire, from which it cannot get out."
 Fars News Agency (Iran), March 6, 2020.