The leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is warning not only the West, but his own government that any agreement reached in Geneva must guarantee the Islamic Republic’s full nuclear rights or it will be voided.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guard’s chief commander, also threatened to destroy Israel should Washington order an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“In case [Iranian] officials witness any violation or an effort to disregard our country’s inalienable nuclear rights by the West and America taking advantage of the [Geneva] agreement with their interpretation of it, they should consider the agreement annulled with full authority,” Jafari said in an exclusive interview Monday with Tasnim, an Iranian media outlet.
The Revolutionary Guard was organized early after the 1979 revolution as a parallel force to Iran’s military to protect the new regime and the clerical establishment. It is now the de facto force of the regime, its influence expanding to all aspects of the economy and the government.
Jafari said Islamic Republic principles require it to confront “oppressive powers,” and the country will continue to do so for as long as America continues its “arrogant behavior” against Iran and the rest of the world.
In blunt language, Jafari sneered at the use of the “military option” against Iran.
“The repetition of such absurd words by the American officials and the fake, illegitimate and despised Zionist regime [Israel] has become a joke for the Iranian nation as these officials fully know that they are incapable of such an act, and in case they commit to such a stupid act, there are many options available for Iran and they will receive a full blow, including the annihilation of the Zionist regime,” Jafari said.
Then Jafari took aim at the newly installed government of Hassan Rouhani: “The people’s expectation of the officials of the executive branch, especially the foreign policy department, is to maintain the straight line of the revolution.”
Jafari told the Rouhani administration that not only must it stand strong against the “enemy’s excessive demands” by solidifying Iran’s “complete nuclear rights,” but it must get all of the “cruel sanctions” removed.
“[Our] experience has shown that whenever officials and our people, sympathetic and with one voice, stood against the excessive demands of the enemy, the enemy has been forced to retreat and, despite all claims of its power, has not been able to do a damn thing,” Jafari said. “… Today America and the West have realized that pressure on the Iranian people is useless. … Eight years ago Iran had 164 centrifuges. Today, despite all the pressures and cruel sanctions by America and its oppressive allies, that figure has grown to over 19,000 centrifuges, with dramatic and striking progress in other fields.”
Iran and the 5+1 world powers, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, reached an interim agreement in Geneva more than a week ago over the regime’s illicit nuclear program. Under the six-month agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, will keep much of its nuclear infrastructure, is limited to enriching uranium at the 5-percent level for six months, will convert its highly enriched uranium of 20 percent to harmless oxide, and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will be limited to only agreed-on facilities.
However, Iran demands that any final agreement must accept the country’s right to enrich uranium and expand its nuclear program for “peaceful purposes,” but the West has not yet officially accepted such a term and hopes to reach a solution within the next six months of negotiations.
According to a member of the Revolutionary Guard who cannot be named for security reasons, the Rouhani government has discussed the possibility of normalizing relations with the United States as a lure for the Obama administration to give in and close the Iranian nuclear dossier by accepting the country’s right to the nuclear-fuel cycle and removing all sanctions. Even a possibility of President Barack Obama traveling to Iran as the first U.S. president to do so has been discussed if his administration complies with the regime.
Those lures, though deceptive tactics, have the Revolutionary Guard nervous, the source said.
The Weekly Standard reported Monday that the Kuwaiti news agency Al-Jarida has learned from a U.S. diplomat that Obama would like to visit Iran after the nuclear negotiations and other issues are resolved.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).