[This is the substance of Reza Saiedi’s interview with me for Tasnim New Agency on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.]
Q. It has been 38 years since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and during this time, we have witnessed the hostile acts of America against the Iranian nation, from the unjust sanctions to the 8-year war with Saddam’s regime and US support of the MKO terrorists. Every American administration has found some excuse and method to continue these hostile actions against the nation of Iran. Considering that Iran has not attacked another nation in more than 300 years, what is the reason for such animosity against Iran ?
A. Although the Iranian military has not attacked another nation in three centuries, the American critics of Iran will point to Iran’s intervention in support of the Asad dictatorship in Syria and into the internal affairs of Lebanon through its support of Hezbollah as examples of aggression. Such criticisms are hypocritical, of course, given the American interventions all over the world, including the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt and the Saudi invasion of Yemen, not to mention its direct sponsorship of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Q. It is said that one of the achievements of the Islamic revolution of Iran is Standing against American domination and hegemony in the region and the world. Would you agree with this observation? Please elaborate your opinion?
A. I honestly have mixed feelings about the Iranian challenge to American hegemony in the region. On the one hand, Iran certainly has a more reasonable interest in its own region and its stand against American intervention can be compared to the “Monroe Doctrine” in which the American president warned the European powers that it would not tolerate colonization of the Americas or establishing puppet dictators therein. On the other hand, there are dangers of Iran becoming a regional hegemon, as the U.S. did in Latin America with the establishment of banana republics and support of dictators from Hernandez in El Salvador to Noriega in Panama.
Q. Although US officials claim that their battle is with the Iranian regime, their cruel sanctions have actually targeted the Iranian people. Under the pretext of support for human rights and democracy , the US has even prevented the Iranian nation from obtaining medicines and medical equipment and innocent people die every year as a result. These sanctions were undertaken during the so-called peaceful Obama administration and Donald Trump gives every indication that he intends to keep the pressure on. Do you think that the American public will come to see this trend of injustice towards Iran, especially as they begin to witness extreme measures taken by Donald Trump?
A. The excesses of the Trump administration have already prompted a rethinking of American policies in other areas, and I hope it will provoke a more clear-headed examination of American policy on Iran. I am concerned, however, that the extremely vitriolic polarization of the public may drag the level of the debate down to one of name-calling and personal attacks, precluding any sober discussion of what is in the best interests of the American and Iranian people, not to mention in accord with justice and righteousness.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute