Iranian General Hossein Dehghan, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's advisor on defense affairs, said in a July 26, 2019 interview on the Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) that Iran's downing of an American drone in June 2019 proved that Iran is strong enough to take "significant measures" against the United States and that it would confront threats to its national security. He said that Iran would not tolerate a situation in which it cannot export oil through the Persian Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz and in which America, Britain, and Europe secure other countries' oil exports. General Dehghan went on to say that Iran is unwilling to negotiate with Trump under any circumstances, and he said that there is a big rift among GCC countries, some of which he said have turned to Iran and said that they do not support Trump's positions. He also claimed that the U.S. has adopted a "defensive approach" because American allies and American military assets in the Middle East are within range of Iran's missiles. He threatened: "Either everybody enjoys security and stability, or nobody does."
Hossein Dehghan: "Our [June 2019] downing of the American drone made everybody realize that it was wrong to believe – as people in America do and as some of America's allies in the region do – that Iran was not strong enough to retaliate and to confront [the U.S.], that it would not take significant measures, or that it would refrain from retaliating when targeted. Some people peddled the idea that Iran would change its considerations if the threat came from America, and that Iran would not do anything. However, our downing of the American drone and the ensuing measures sent a clear message that Iran would confront any new threat to its national security. Any claim to the contrary is unacceptable and meaningless.
"I say it loud and clear. If the goal is to threaten us and to provide security and stability to others, there will be no security whatsoever. If Iran is unable to export its oil through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz while America, Britain, and the Europeans come and secure other [countries'] oil exports, this will create a horrific and unrealistic equation. It would mean that nobody will enjoy security. The countries in the Persian Gulf must accept one basic principle: Either everybody will enjoy security, or everybody will be denied the economic benefits of this important region.
"We believe that Trump is in dire need of any sort of contact with Iran. He is willing to provide great privileges in exchange for such contact. He even designated a special phone line so we can contact him at any time. But then he started making threats and he walked back on the terms he had set before. This is what got us to where we are today. Any American position, and I mean any one of Trump's positions… [Trump] wants to create a psychological perception in the world that America wants to negotiate in order to solve its dispute with Iran, and that it is Iran that rejects such negotiations… But the truth is that Trump and his administration – especially Pompeo and others – present scenarios about the need to topple our regime, to strike Iran militarily, to destroy Iran from within, and to create coalitions that will prevent Iran from becoming an influential regional power. How can we believe them after all of this? Therefore, their talk about negotiations is nothing but deception, hypocrisy, and plain lies. I think that Trump knows that he is lying with regard to the negotiations with Iran.
"I think that the American people and all the other people of the world do not believe Mr. Trump when he says he wants to negotiate. We believe that he really needs to be in touch with us for domestic reasons that have to do with the elections."
Interviewer: "So Iran is unwilling to sit at the negotiations table with Trump?"
Hossein Dehghan: "Our official policy is not to negotiate with Trump. Under no circumstances will we negotiate with him.
"America is not ready to make great sacrifices in order to defend its allies in the region.
"All the coalitions formed by some of the Arabs, like the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the days of the Iran-Iraq war or the Saudi-UAE coalition in Yemen, have failed to achieve anything. Today, we can accept condolences for the death of the GCC and say a prayer for its soul. In addition, countries in the region have become convinced that they should not venture to rely on America anymore. Today, we are witnessing a real and deep rift among the GCC countries. Some of these countries contact us and ask us not to consider them as supportive of the current U.S. position.
"Today, America adopts a defensive approach in the full sense of the word. The reason is simple. All their aircraft carriers, frigates, and military bases in the region are directly within the range of our missiles. These missiles are capable of striking them with precision."
Interviewer: "Will Iran do this if it has to?"
Hossein Dehghan: "If the U.S. decides to go into battle with us, it should not expect to have any safe place in the region. This is true not only of America, but also of its allies. Either everybody enjoys security and stability, or nobody does.
"One must say that the relative rationality [of the UAE] was caused by their defeats. Their policy failed and had brought them no results."