On February 6, 2019, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hizbullah, delivered a speech at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. He praised Iran for supporting Palestinian, Lebanese, and regional resistance movements, and said that Iran was willing to go as far as necessary to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq. Nasrallah said that despite some people's attempts to drag the U.S. into a war with Iran, Iran's domestic and regional strength has prevented such a war, and he said that Iran would not stand alone in a war because the fate of the people and the region is linked to the fate of its regime. He said that people would accuse Hizbullah of dragging Lebanon into a war if it shot down Israeli planes in Lebanese airspace and, saying that he has Lebanon's interests in mind, Nasrallah offered to go to Iran and bring the Lebanese army air defenses and whatever else it needs to become the strongest military in the region. The speech aired on Al-Manar TV (Lebanon).
Hassan Nasrallah: "[Iran] supports the resistance movements in the region. It supports the Palestinian people and the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon. It supports the resistance axis and the resistance countries in the region.
"The latest role played by the Islamic Republic and Revolution was to confront the fitna of terrorism and takfir. It's as simple as that. When America established ISIS in Iraq, as Trump admitted – in order to use it as a pretext to return to Iraq – the authority in Najaf, Ayatollah Al-Sistani, published his fatwa. [Consequently], the Iraqi people and government rose to the occasion, but the circumstances were extremely difficult. There were problems with weapons, storage, and organization... A large number of provinces fell quickly [under ISIS control]. The rapid intervention of the Islamic Republic – within hours and days – with its generals, officers, and cadres, headed by the great mujahid brother Qasem Soleimani, and with all its weapons, cannons, and ammunition, which it brought even from the border provinces... The Islamic Republic was willing to go as far as necessary to support the Iraqi people against ISIS.
"Who would want to wage a regional war against Iran? Some people are trying to drag the Americans into a war against Iran. A lot can be said about this. The leader [Khamenei] says there won't be a war. It is logical that due to interests, the balance of power, and the deterrence... It is not because of Trump's moral fiber that there isn't a war. It is because Iran is strong and powerful. Iran is strong domestically as well as in the region. Iran will not stand alone when a war is waged against it, because the fate of our region, our peoples, and our holy places is linked to the fate and existence of this blessed Islamic regime.
"The Israeli airplanes violate our airspace. Let me make a hypothesis. If Hizbullah had air defenses capable of downing the planes of the Israeli air force, which violate Lebanese sovereignty... Constructive ambiguity is important... If Hizbullah had [such air defenses], and it were to down an Israeli air force plane attacking Lebanon... If Hizbullah downed such a plane in Lebanon – wouldn't many people start complaining that Hizbullah was dragging Lebanon into a war?
"As a friend of Iran, I am willing to bring the Lebanese army air defenses from Iran. Just make the decision. The Lebanese army is not allowed to have high-quality anti-tank missiles. The Lebanese army is not allowed to have deterring missiles and to engage in a policy of deterrence. It is not allowed to have surface-to-surface missiles. They give us Willys (jeeps) and REO (trucks), and cannons from the American bases that they shut down in Germany, as well as some APCs, and light weapons and ammunition... I apologize if I upset anyone in the Lebanese army. This is for your own good.
"I am a friend of Iran. I am willing to go to Iran, and bring whatever the Lebanese army needs to become the strongest army in the region. What we need in Lebanon is courage, and we need real sovereignty even more. When we sit around the table of the Lebanese government, we should do what is best for Lebanon and for the Lebanese people. If the Americans, the Europeans, or whoever want to be upset, they can go right ahead. If they can provide us with an alternative – no problem. We want air defenses. If the Americans provide them to the Lebanese army – no problem."