The following is a complimentary offering from the MEMRI Iran Threat Monitor Project (ITMP). For more information, write to [email protected] with "ITMP Subscription" in the subject line.
General Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the IRGC referred to U.S. President Donald Trump's reaction to a possible Iranian retaliation for the killing of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in an interview with Iran's Channel 1 TV, on September 19, 2020. In the interview, General Salami said that President Trump lacks any necessary knowledge and the political and military experience to wage war against Iran so he resorts to exaggerating the proportions of an American response to an Iranian act of retaliation. He continued to say that the American military is incapable of engaging in a war with Iran, that its weapons are outdated, that the U.S. economy cannot support prolonged military conflict, and that the American regime cannot even manage a pandemic.
General Salami said that Iran is capable of setting fire to American bases and interests in the region, and it can conquer all of its bases. He continued to say that Iran has been perfecting its "defensive capabilities" since the Iran-Iraq war ended, so it is prepared to wage war against the U.S., protect Iran from defeat, and win this war. General Salami added that Iran has "thousands of regiments on the ground." Referring to U.S. President Trump's statement that an American response to a possible Iranian retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, would be "1,000 times greater," General Salami said that this is completely unfathomable. He said that if President Trump had suggested that the American response would be two or three times as strong as the Iranian attack, this would be a plausible enough exaggeration for the purpose of psychological warfare.
General Salami said that the U.S. is working under the mistaken assumption that Iran would retaliate for the killing of Soleimani by assassinating the American ambassador to South Africa. However, General Salami said that this would be ridiculous because Iran is an honorable and noble nation and it would not assassinate someone who had no part in the killing of Soleimani. He said that the best revenge would be to defeat "the hegemonic order [of the West]." General Salami stated that defeating the American regime would be the most appropriate vengeance for the blood of Soleimani, not the killing of "of some soldiers or an ambassador somewhere."
General Hossein Salami: "I would like to reassure the dear and honorable people of Islamic Iran that no current power – American included – is in a position to wage a new war against the people of Iran.
"When the leader of a so-called great country like America lacks the necessary knowledge and political experience, and is not deeply acquainted with military force, having not experienced war, it is only natural that he would turn to blowing figures out of proportions on a scale that is beyond the imagination of any human being. The American military today is not an army capable of operating in a widespread manner across the globe, nor is it capable of participating in a large war, such as one against Iran. All the weapons of the [U.S.] military date several decades back.
"The economic indexes in America do not allow it to wage a large and prolonged war. America is capable of answering the basic needs of public under its management. It could not even manage a pandemic – something that was accomplished by several much weaker countries. It is incapable of running a war.
"If the Americans want to fight our country, they will have to be present in the region. They cannot fight us from outside this region. They must position themselves in the region and then fight us. When they are stationed anywhere in the region, they are under our eyes and our bullets. We can set fire to all American interests and bases in the region simultaneously. We can conquer all their bases. They will have to deal with the loss of lives on a very large scale each day. We can sweep through the entire region. The power we have amassed has taken into consideration the most pessimistic scenario of a wide-scale war against America and its coalition of forces. From the moment the [Iran-Iraq] War of Holy Defense ended, we have been expanding our defensive forces, with one thing in mind: That in a wide-scale and comprehensive war with the U.S., we would be able not just to avoid defeat, but also to win.
"Our forces must number thousands of regiments on the ground. They can be on the move, and if they do, they will take over all the American interests and bases in the region and set them on fire.
"When someone says that the response will be '1,000 times greater,' this experience is so exaggerated that it is completely unfathomable. Even an exaggeration should be plausible. Had the American President said: 'Our response will be 2-3 times greater...'"
Interviewer: "It would have been somewhat acceptable..."
Salami: "Right. We would have said that this is partly psychological warfare and, in part, close to the truth, and they want to respond in a more extreme way. It is very natural that... In response to what did he say that? In response to their mistaken assumption that we decided to avenge the blood of the great commander of the Islamic front [Soleimani], by assassinating the American ambassador in South Africa. This is a ridiculous and laughable assumption. Why? Because we are honorable people. We are a noble nation. In retaliation for the blood of this great man, we would never assassinate and kill someone who had no part in this. Our revenge [will be] fair and honorable. What would taste like revenge for [the killing] of General Soleimani and would satisfy the Iranian people other than defeating the hegemonic order [of the West]?
"The price for [Soleimani's] martyrdom and assassination must be paid by the political order of America. It is the hegemonic order, in which such decisions are made that must collapse. Defeating this regime will be the blood vengeance of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, not the killing of some soldiers or an ambassador somewhere."