Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem said that he did not expect a war between Iran and the U.S. because Iran is too strong and is capable of a "decisive" retaliation against the U.S. and its bases. Speaking on Mayadeen TV on March 30, Sheikh Qassem said that he had heard "from the Iranian brothers" that when President Bush was making threats against Iran, Khamenei had authorized the military command to launch a retaliation missile attack without confirming with him first.
Naim Qassem: "Things will not easily deteriorate into a state of war (between Iran and the U.S.), because Iran is strong and cannot be occupied. The circumstances of Iran, its people, its power, and its status, will not allow America to attack it. This is according to the available information."
Host: "What about the Iranian response?"
Naim Qassem: "The Iranian response will definitely be decisive. I want to tell you a story that I heard from the Iranian brothers: According to my information, when Bush threatened Iran, and the plans to strike Iran were ready, the imam and commander Khamenei authorized the military command to launch missiles in the event that certain places came under attack, and to carry out the mission of defense without confirming with him. They were at a very high level of readiness."
Host: "Against whom?"
Naim Qassem: "Against America."
Host: "Only America? Or against countries that host its military bases as well?"
Naim Qassem: "It was America that was making threats…Obviously, I mean America and its bases in the region. What I want to say is that Iran has always rejected any kind of aggression against it, whether from America or anyone else. Iran is ready to retaliate, and they know it, but they do not know the outcome. They can attack (Iran), but what will happen afterwards? What will be the consequences for them?"
Host: "Are you saying that Iran is capable of confronting America and NATO?"
Naim Qassem: "Of course it is capable."
Host: "Or is it capable only of containing them?"
Naim Qassem: "What does confrontation mean? It means preventing America from accomplishing its goals. It does not mean that Iran would go to America and eradicate it. But can America occupy Iran? No. Can America strike Iran and bring it to its knees? No. Can America strike Iran without paying a price, along with its allies? No."