Following are excerpts from an interview with General Hosein Salami, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force, which aired on Jaam-e Jam 3 TV on April 4, 2006.
General Hosein Salami: Although the weapons we manufacture are long-range, they are not meant for the population or countries of the region, nor for any other country, unless it is a country that poses a threat to us. In such a case, we will not be courteous towards anyone. We are frank with everyone. We believe that our life as a nation depends on our defensive ability. This is not supported to increase the concerns of the region's countries, but unfortunately, you see superpowers that have traveled thousands of miles, from the other side of the world and overseas. They send armies to this region, and rob its countries of their right to political life. They disrupt the social life and economic system of the region.
We believe that as Iran's deterrence capability in the region increases, the ability to make threats decreases. Since our weapons are for deterrent purposes, they prevent war.
Interviewer: They increase the degree of security.
General Hosein Salami: Exactly. They increase stability in the region.
Interviewer: One of the issues [the West] and especially Fox News is making a fuss about is that by means of this maneuver, Iran wishes to make it clear that it can prevent oil export from the region, and that since the Hormuz Straits are only 54 km wide, it can pose a threat to the oil export with its missile technology. Would you elaborate on this?
General Hosein Salami: You don't need to hear this from Fox News. Iran controls over 2,000 km of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Even without this maneuver Iran has this ability. This is a natural ability of our country. Iran can block oil export whenever necessary. Fox News doesn't have to make propaganda out of this. This is a natural ability of our country.
Both geo-politically and geo-strategically, we control this strategic artery of the world. However, we never try to use it to cause economic fever in the world - unless our enemies choose a different approach, and use a different language regarding their conflict with us. There is no need for concern in this case either, because basically, we believe more than anyone else in the safe export of energy from this region.
We do not think we should use this means under regular circumstances, when we do not feel a serious threat. As for Iran's wanting to demonstrate its ability - it does not need to do so. Everybody knows Iran has this ability. This ability did not suddenly materialize. We have had it for many years. Iran has the ability to disrupt the naval traffic and the passage of energy in this strategic region whenever it likes. This is our natural ability.