Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Gholam Ali Khoshroo said the US government is the root cause of chaos in the Middle East but is shifting the blame on Iran to cover up its aggressive and reckless policies.
In an interview with Chris Hedges, a columnist writing for Truthdig, Khoshroo explicated Iran’s polices on major international issues.
“The failed policies, or lack of policies, of the United States, which violate international law, have left the Middle East in total chaos,” Khoshroo said in the interview in New York City.
“The United States, to cover up these aggressive, reckless and costly policies, blames Iran. Iran is blamed for their failures in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon.”
The Trump administration “is very naive about the Middle East and Iran,” the ambassador said. “It can only speak in the language of threats—pressure, sanctions, intervention. These policies have failed in the region. They are very risky and costly. Let the Americans deal with the problems of the countries they have already invaded and attacked. America lacks constructive power in the Middle East. It is unable to govern even a village in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen or Syria. All it can do is use force and destructive power. This US administration wants the Middle East and the whole world to bow to it. This is not a policy conducive to sound relationships with sovereign states, especially those countries that have resisted American influence.”
“The plan to arm ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria was a cover to topple (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad,” Khoshroo further said.
“The Americans knew there were no ‘moderate’ rebels. They knew these weapons would get into the hands of terrorist groups like Daesh (ISIL), Al-Nusra and their affiliates. Once again, the American policy failed. The Americans succeeded in destroying a country. They succeeded in creating bloodbaths. They succeeded in displacing millions of people. But they gained nothing. The sovereignty of Syria is expanding by the day. It is hard to imagine what President Trump is offering as a strategy in Syria. One day, he says, ‘I will move out of Syria very soon, very quickly.’ The next day he says, ‘If Iran is there, we should stay.’ I wonder if the American taxpayers know how much of their money has been wasted in Iraq, Syria and Yemen?”
Turning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Khoshroo said, “The Iran nuclear deal was possible following several letters by President Barack Obama assuring the Iranian leadership that America had no intention of violating Iranian sovereignty.
“America said it wanted to engage in a serious dialogue on equal footing and mutual interests and concerns. These assurances led to the negotiations that concluded with the JCPOA. From the beginning, however, America was not forthcoming in its dealings with us on the JCPOA. President Obama wanted the agreement to be implemented, but he did not want it implemented in its full capacity. Congress, on the day JCPOA was implemented, passed a law warning Europeans that were doing business with Iran. The staffs of companies had to apply for a visa to the United States if they had traveled to Iran for business purposes. This began on the first day. The Americans were not always very forthcoming. OFAC (Office of Foreign Funds Control) gave ambiguous answers to many of the questions that companies had about sanctions, but at least in words the Obama administration supported the JCPOA and saw the agreement as the basis for our interactions.”
“President Trump, however, even as a candidate, called the agreement ‘the worst deal America ever made,’ ” the ambassador said. “He called this deal a source of embarrassment for America. Indeed, it was not the deal but America’s unilateral decision to walkaway from an agreement that was supported by the United Nations Security Council, and in fact co-sponsored and drafted by the United States, that is the source of embarrassment for America. To walk away from an international agreement and then threaten a sovereign country is the real source of embarrassment since Iran was in full compliance while the US never was.”
“In 2008, the Israelis told the world that Iran was only some days away from acquiring an atomic bomb,” he said. “The Israelis said there had to be a military strike to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. What has happened since? During the last two years, there have been 11 reports by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) clearly confirming and demonstrating Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA. All of the accusations (about) Iran using nuclear facilities for military purposes were refuted by the IAEA as well as by Europe, Russia, China, along with many other countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa. America is concerned about Iranian influence in the region and seeks to contain Iran because the US administration realizes that America’s policies in the Middle East have failed. Their own statements about Iran repeatedly contradict each other. One day they say, ‘Iran is so weak it will collapse,’ and the next day they say, ‘Iran is governing several Arab capitals in the Middle East.’ ”
“The most brutal regime is now in power in Israel,” the Iranian ambassador said. “It has no regard for international law or humanitarian law. It violates Security Council resolutions regarding settlements, its capital and occupation. Look at what Israel has done in Gaza in the last 30 days. On the same day America was unlawfully transferring its embassy to Jerusalem, 60 unarmed Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli snipers. (Israelis) were dancing in Jerusalem while the blood of unarmed Palestinians was running in Gaza. The Trump administration gives total support and impunity to Israel. This angers many people in the Middle East, including many in Saudi Arabia. It is a Zionist project to portray Iran as the main threat to peace in the Middle East. Israel introducing Iran as a threat is an attempt to divert attention from the crimes this regime is committing, but these too are failed policies that will backfire. They are policies designed to cover weakness.”
“Saudi Arabia, as part of (the civil war in Yemen), has a tactical and strategic cooperation with Israel against Iran,” the ambassador said. “But the Saudi regime is defying the sentiments of its own people. How long will this be possible? For three years now, Saudi Arabia, assisted by the United States, has bombed the Yemeni people and imposed a total blockade that includes food and medicine. Nothing has been resolved. Once again, Iran is blamed for this failure by Saudi Arabia and the United States in Yemen. Even if Iran wanted to help the Yemenis, it is not possible due to the total blockade. The Yemeni people asked for peace negotiations from the first day of the war. But Saudi military adventurism and its desire to test its military resolve made any peaceful solution impossible. The US and the UK provide military and logistical support, including cluster bombs to be used by the Saudis in Yemen. The Emiratis are bombing Yemen. All such actions are doomed to failure since there is no military solution in Yemen. There is only a political solution. Look at the targets of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen: funerals. Wedding ceremonies. Agricultural fields. Houses. Civilians. How do the Saudis expect the Yemeni people to greet those who bomb them? With hugs? The war has cost a lot of money, and Trump responds by saying (to Saudi Arabia), ‘Oh you have money. (Paraphrasing here.) Please buy our ‘beautiful weapons.’ They are killing beautiful children with these ‘beautiful’ weapons. It is a disaster. It is tragic.”
“Of course, blaming and threatening Iran is not new,” the ambassador said. “This has been going on for 40 years. The Iranian people and the Iranian government are accustomed to this nonsense. United States intervention in the internal affairs of Iran goes back a long time, including the war with Iraq, when the United States supported Saddam Hussein. Then America invaded Iraq in 2003 in their so-called ‘intervention for democracy and elimination of WMDs.’ Iran has always resisted and will always resist US threats.”
“America was in Iran 40 years ago,” the ambassador said. “About 100,000 US advisers were in Iran during the rule of the shah, who was among the closest allies of America. America was unable to keep this regime in power because the Iranian people revolted against such dependency and suppression. Since the fall of the shah in 1979, for 40 years, America continued to violate international law, especially the Algeria agreements it signed with Iran in 1981.”
“The Middle East has many problems: insecurity, instability, problems with natural resources such as water, etc.,” Khoshroo said. “All of these problems have been made worse by foreign intervention as well as Israel’s lawlessness. The issue of Palestine is at the heart of turmoil in the Middle East for Muslims. Any delay in finding solutions to these wounds in the Middle East exposes this region to more dangerous threats. Americans say they want the Middle East to be free from violent extremism, but this will only happen when the Middle East is free from occupation and foreign intervention. The Americans are selling their weapons throughout the Middle East. They calculate how much money they can earn from destruction. They don’t care about human beings. They don’t care about security or democratic process or political process. This is worrisome.”
“What are the results of American policies in the Middle East?” he asked. “All of the American allies in the region are in turmoil. Only Iran is secure and stable. Why is this the case? Why, during the last 40 years, has Iran been stable? Is it because Iran has no relationship with America? Why is there hostility between Iran and America? Can’t the Americans see that Iran’s stability is important for the region? We are surrounded by Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen. What good would come from destabilizing Iran? What would America get out of that?”