Following are excerpts from an interview with General Yahya Rahim Safavi, General Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which aired on Channel 2, Iranian TV on November 12, 2006.
General Yahya Rahim Safavi: The Shahab 3 missiles, which were fired with a cluster warhead, deviated a few meters [from the target]. Considering the extent of the explosion, a few meters is...
Interviewer: Is this within the norms of missile operations?
General Yahya Rahim Safavi: Naturally, a 20-30 meter [deviation] is acceptable, because the force of the explosion and the radius of the shockwaves exceed 20 or 30 meters.
The Americans and the countries that have satellite systems – especially those that monitor Iran's airspace or the atmosphere – can see our missile launchings clearly - not the radar systems, but the satellite systems of the various countries. They see both the launching and landing points. It is completely obvious to them that these were real maneuvers. In fact, the maneuvers were carried out with combat weapons, and were not just for show.
The Americans have many weaknesses. In fact, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they clearly displayed their strengths and weaknesses. We have planned our strategy precisely on the basis of their strengths and weaknesses.
We don't see any motivation among the American forces in Iraq. They are very cowardly. There are even scenes from Iraq in which they are seen crying. When their commanders encounter a problem, they burst into tears. We did not see such spectacles in the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war. I can therefore say that our advantage over the foreign forces is moral and human.
Of course, in accordance with the technology that we have or that we are able to obtain from other countries, we have equipped our armed forces with the most advanced anti-aircraft, anti-helicopter, anti-tank, and anti-ship weapons. The equipment used in these wargames was only part of what we have. We never reveal all our cards to the enemy. We used only a small sample of our personnel and equipment.
Interviewer: General, the viewers asked whether the IRGC has the ability to conduct active and defensive electronic warfare.
General Yahya Rahim Safavi: I'm not at liberty to talk about some things, because they are highly classified. But I can say that our communications systems are very advanced. We can communicate with all our units. Even at the brigade level, we maintain five levels of contact and communication with our units. We make full use of satellite systems, and can handle the enemy's satellite systems. We can disrupt the satellite systems of the enemy. We can disrupt the communication networks of the enemy.
Interviewer: General, the viewers asked many questions about the destructive power of the Shahab 2 and 3 missiles. If it is not secret, please tell us.
General Yahya Rahim Safavi: The Shahab 3 missile has a cluster warhead, and consequently, its destructive power exceeds several kilometers, because the warhead spreads into bomblets. [It can be used] against large bases, large concentrations of people, aircraft carriers... even against aircraft carriers, because it explodes from above, so it can completely destroy an aircraft carrier with its planes.
As for the Shahab 2 missile – its warhead carries approximately 900 kilograms of explosives. It has about 20 tons of fuel. This missile uses 12-20 tons of fuel, and its warhead carries 900 kilograms of explosives, so it has very great explosive power.
Interviewer: Does the Shahab series include a Shahab 4, Shahab 5, and so on?
General Yahya Rahim Safavi: I would rather not answer that.
As I pointed out, starting a war with another country or attacking it is currently not part of our plans or strategy. But if the Zionist regime or the Americans make problems for us and organize attacks against us... The Zionist regime is about 1,300 kilometers from our centers. If we have a missile range of 2,000 kilometers, it is only natural that a distance of 1,300 kilometers is within this range.
I'd like to say something else. If the Zionist regime was defeated by a group of Hizbullah in Lebanon... After all, Hizbullah is a small group in Lebanon, which defeated the Israeli army in this 33-day war. How can Israel withstand a great nation that numbers 70 million, 90 percent of which are Shiites? As for the IRGC and the Basij – we have 10 million Basij members and strong Revolutionary Guards. There is no comparison. Therefore, I do not believe that the Zionists would even dream of threatening us. If they do, they will face the greatest danger to their very existence. I say again: We are interested in peace and quiet in the Middle East. We have no policy of attacking [anyone], but we will respond to any invading power with a force that they cannot even imagine. Neither the Americans nor the Zionists know what complex, precise, and intelligence-based plans we have designed in order to defend our country and to deal with their possible attacks.