Following are excerpts from an interview with General Abdolrahim Mousavi, Chief of Joint Staff of the Iranian Army, which aired on Channel 2 TV on September 26, 2007.
Abdolrahim Mousavi: If the enemy plans to strike and destroy [strategic] sites from afar, and this is his only goal – to strike a blow and nothing else...In such a case, ground forces will be useless. But today, no country can strike a "hit and run" type blow, as you called it. No country could ever strike a blow at us and then leave, declaring: "It's over!"
Interviewer: Let's say [the enemy] positions itself 2,000 or 3,000 kilometers away, launches 2,000 missiles at our sensitive sites, and runs away.
Abdolrahim Mousavi: If anyone should have such a thought – and they would not dare think so – such [an action] would be a grave mistake on their part. But this is a certain type of warfare – for them to attack from afar in order to destroy the [strategic] sites – in such a case, the ground forces would play a very small role. But if they want to seize some territory, to take control of it, or to occupy it – in such a case, the ground forces would be deployed. It seems that by attacking certain sites in a country... As you know, not much time has passed since the 33-day war [in Lebanon]. For 33 days, the entire Israeli air force and artillery bombarded South Lebanon. Iran is 160 times the size of Lebanon. How many bombs, missiles, and planes do you think they are planning to use, before they can claim to have achieved anything? Did they actually manage to achieve anything in Lebanon? They bombed [Lebanon] for 33 days and nights, destroying everything, but did they manage to destroy Hizbullah's fighting capabilities? Throughout the [Israeli] bombardments, Hizbullah continued to attack with missiles, and continued its activity. No country can consider this to be a success. Success is when a country gains control over some territory. Once that country remains on that land, it will have to deal with our ground forces. Allah be praised, I believe that our ground forces are, without exaggeration, the most powerful, at least in the Middle East.
Abdolrahim Mousavi: All this is, in my opinion, psychological warfare, an exaggeration, or bravado. All that is not true. Like I told you, they too have their vulnerabilities. The elephant looks very strong but it cannot turn its neck. That is its greatest vulnerability. An Indian boy, weighing only 25 kg, sits up there on the elephant, and guides it wherever he wants, with the help of a mallet. They have their vulnerabilities too... We have made an analysis of the past 15 or 16 years, and we have analyzed the past five years very carefully, and we are fully aware of all their strengths and vulnerabilities. We know, on a daily basis, our enemy's situation. We have come up with ways of dealing with all their vulnerabilities, and we have found ways to protect ourselves from their strengths.