Following are excerpts from an interview with Sunni Iranian cleric Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi, which aired on Al-Hiwar TV on October 18, 2007:
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: The condition of the Sunnis in Iran is undoubtedly bad. It would not be an exaggeration to say that what is happening to our Palestinian brothers does not compare to it, because people mourn over the plight of the Palestinians, whereas the Sunnis in Iran – even though they constitute one-third of the population, and even though they are the native inhabitants of the country – have no one to mourn their plight. This goes back to the overall problem of the Muslims. Iran adopted Islam in the days of Omar Iban Khattab. It emerged from Zoroastrianism and the worshipping of fire, and adopted the worship of Allah.
When Iran became Shiite through the Crusader plan and the Safavid sectarian sword...
Interviewer: You are referring to the Safavid state established by Ismail Al-Safavi?
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: Yes.
Interviewer: I'd like to ask you an important question. Some historians say that although the Safavid state persecuted the Sunnis to some extent – Ismail Al-Safavi found a divided state with a dispersed population. He united this state, which today is called Iran, and made it glorious.
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: Yes, he made it glorious, but at the expense of the Muslims, because this state divided the east of the Muslim world from its west. Ever since, [Iran] has been the den of spying and plotting against the Islamic world. We are not talking about minor persecution. [Iran] has annihilated millions of Sunnis since then.
Interviewer: Iranian officials declare that there is no discrimination between the Sunnis and their Shiite brothers in Iran.
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: If that was true... Has there been a single Sunni minister in the past 28 years? Has there been a single Sunni ambassador, or even a single Sunni doorman at any [Iranian] embassy?
Interviewer: But you have 20 members of parliament.
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: Iranian MPs do not represent anybody. The parliament is worthless. Iran is a state of darkness, the state of Khamenei. In Iran, even the president is merely a postman, as Khatami said. The Iranian parliament does not amount to anything. There are Arab MPs in the Israeli parliament, and there are even Arab ministers in Israel. In this respect too, [Iran] cannot be compared even with the Zionist state. Tehran is the only capital which does not have a single Sunni mosque. For 40 years ago, we have been conducting Friday prayers at a Pakistani school, and even that has been shut down. Some Shiites who have abandoned the nonsense of the Shiite belief formed transient mosques to conduct the Friday prayers – one time at your place, and the next at my place. They were prevented from doing even this. This is happening not only in Tehran. In all the cities with a Shiite majority these prayers are prevented, and there isn't a single Sunni mosque. In the Sunni areas, such as Kurdistan, Balochistan, and Turkmensahra, there are mosques and religious schools, which we built in the days of the Shah and even earlier. These are schools and mosques that we have inherited, and now, they are under great pressure. Dozens of Sunni clerics have been assassinated.
Interviewer: Why do you continue to conduct your opposition from abroad? Why don't you return to Iran and demand...
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: You are not letting me show these pictures... If I could remain in the country without any danger, I would not leave. That's one thing. They have killed most of our great scholars, except for those who are hypocrites and adapt themselves to them. Secondly, I wish I could live in my country. What is there for me here? Thirdly, since they treat us as a tenth-rate people, the only way we can live there is under oppression. Would you agree to live under oppression, under the sword of occupation? Impossible.
Iran wants to change the [Sunnis], not to annihilate them. Iran is a ideological sectarian state, and it wants to turn them from Sunnis into Shiites, in various ways – through marriage, by opening offices for mut'a marriage [registration], by buying off people, scholars, and schools – by any possible means. Iran does not care about annihilating them. Iran wants these people to become Shiites, because it views them as an obstacle to the exporting of the revolution.
Is there a war between America and Iran? Is America crazy to give a Shiite state to Iran's supporters in Iraq? Has America gone mad? America created a Shiite state and gave it to Iran's collaborators, to those who were created by the Iranian intelligence – the Supreme Council, Muqtada Al-Sadr, and so on. Has America gone berserk? Similarly, America gave Afghanistan to the collaborators of Moscow and Iran. America knows what it is doing.
Interviewer: If Iran is bombed or targeted, what will your position be?
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: We do not want Iran to be attacked, but we pray that Allah sets the oppressors one against the other.
Interviewer: You won't defend your country?
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: It's not our country. We do not want our country to be attacked.
Interviewer: How can you say Iran is not your country?
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: It is just like we didn't want Iraq to be attacked. But we pray for Allah to rid us of this sectarian regime – not at the hand of America, but at the hand of the Iranian people.
Interviewer: Is the 300 million Iran gave Hamas... Is the Iranian aid to the Palestinians – despite the heavy siege imposed on them, which no Arab country has managed to penetrate... Is all this a disguise?
Dr. Abu Muntasir Mulla Zadeh Al-Baloushi: It makes it easier for them to buy out the Palestinian cause, profit from it and corrupt it. Iran can corrupt the Palestinian cause more than the Zionists themselves. They brag about getting the Shiites doctrine into Palestine, and indeed, there are Palestinians who have become Shiites. If such civil strife occurs in Palestine, God forbid, they will take their revenge upon Saladin, just like Gouraud did, and the Palestinian people will begin to miss Sharon. From what I have seen in Iran, I can say that Iran is even more dangerous to Islam and the Muslims than Israel. Why? Because it behaves hypocritically. It says one thing and does another. So what if it gives aid? What are 300-500 million for Iran? Iran is a producer of oil, so it's not a problem for it. What's important to Iran is profiting from the [Palestinian] cause.
They have voiced the slogan: "The road to Jerusalem passes through Karbala." Throughout the eight years of war, they kept saying that the road to Jerusalem passes through Karbala, and they must conquer Jerusalem. But they came from Jerusalem and entered Karbala. They came with Sharon and Bush and entered Karbala.