IRGC Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani compared Arab countries with ties to America to "beggars, running after some tiny rich countries." Speaking in the city of Kerman on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, General Soleimani said that the U.S. had done nothing for Iran, despite having controlled it for 50 years. He challenged those who said that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei should "drink poison" and reach a deal with the U.S., like Imam Khomeini when he agreed to U.N. Resolution 598, which ended the Iran-Iraq war. General Soleimani called the U.S. a "poison" that was "robbing Islam of its soul," "robbing Iran and the Shia of their soul," and "[robbing] humanity of its soul." The speech was broadcast live on IRIB Ofogh TV.
Qasem Soleimani: "I've said many times with regard to Egypt... People who seek ties of any kind with America should learn the lesson. It is crystal clear. It is as bright as the sun, as clear as day. The countries under the control of America, America's allies, have surrendered everything to America – their reputation and their dignity. Take a look at their situation. They do not suffer from economic sanctions, they have ties with the whole world, America and the West support them... These countries used to have very high standing in the Arab world, and enjoyed the upper hand in the Islamic world too, but today, they are disappearing from the historical scene. They have become like a beggar, running after some tiny rich countries. They are selling out their own islands, their own countries.
"[Some say] that just as Imam [Khomeini] – when he agreed to the ceasefire [in the Iran-Iraq war] – was [in his own words] 'drinking poison,' today's imam [Khamenei] should do the same thing with regard to America. What great ignorance. What a dangerous fallacy."
Crowd: "Death to America..."
Qasem Soleimani: "Hang on, sir. What kind of comparison is this? This poison is robbing Islam of its soul. It is completely robbing Iran and the Shia of their soul. Someone from outside Iran asked me why we oppose America so much. I said to him: 'Let me ask you something. America had complete control over our country for 50 years. Show me one sign of what America accomplished here in those 50 years – one building, one road, one highway. Show me one thing they did, apart from all the widespread plundering.' Not only in our country, but in others too... They have completely exhausted [the resources] of our country. This poison cannot be compared to that of U.N. Resolution 598 and the war. This poison robs humanity of its soul.
"Our nation helped the Iraqi nation to uproot the Baath Party. Our nation uprooted the greatest danger of all – the evil of ISIS and the takfiris. In the words of our leader, this was done in the service of humanity. You saw how helpless the Europeans were in dealing with them. Our nation came to the rescue of the other nations.
"You saw how Hizbullah, a small organization that was not afraid, an organization that learned from our Imam and our nation not to be afraid, gave such a slap to an enemy armed to the teeth, which poses a danger to the Islamic world. All the Arab countries together could not confront this enemy, but [Hizbullah] defeated it and put it in its place, and today, that enemy does not have the courage to attack any Muslim country.
"Today, our success depends on two things. The first is to obey our leader.
"Sadly, some people who purport to support and obey the leader – instead of publishing an open letter addressed to the enemy, the arrogance [the U.S.] and the Zionists, they publish an open letter addressed to the ruler, who stands in the front line, facing the enemy."