Interview by Marzieh Motahhari For Iran’sView
In an interview with Iran’sView, Marandi discussed several issues including Iran’s nuclear program, the sanctions, and America’s offer for direct talks with Iran.
On the nuclear issue, he argued that the real concern of the United States and its allies was not nuclear weapons but that it was “Iran’s independence and progress” which they saw as the real threat to their “global hegemony”. He pointed out that even before the nuclear standoff, the western powers and particularly the US, engaged in evil activities and plots against Iranian people and government, one being their support for Saddam Hussain during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980s.
Marandi called the sanctions “inhuman and concerted” attempts meant to “put pressure on the government” through targeting ordinary Iranians and banning even the export of medicine and food to Iran. He however pointed out that these foreign plots would fail as the Iranian nation knows that “independence and human dignity come at a price”.
When asked about America’s offer for direct talks with Iran, Marandi said there would be nothing to talk about unless the US ended its irrationality and the animosity against Iranian people and government. He stated that past experiences including Iran’s voluntary halt to its nuclear program showed that the western powers were not honest as they responded to Iran’s goodwill with more pressures and sanctions.
Here’s the full interview.
The US and its allies have for long been pushing Iran to end its peaceful nuclear activities, claiming that Iran is after nuclear weapons. After Iran earned a big success in its space program by sending a monkey to space and retrieving it alive, they condemned the act, saying it was of serious concern. This is while many experts like Harvard astrophysicist Dr. Johnathan McDowell believe the rocket was “useful only for doing astronaut stuff” and not military purposes. So what makes them so concerned?
I believe the real concern for the United States and its European allies is not nuclear weapons. They know quite well that Iran’s nuclear program has always been peaceful. This is simply the current excuse used to justify their cruel policies against citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rarely in human history have we seen such an inhuman and concerted attempt to hurt and even kill ordinary citizens through so called “crippling sanctions”. The financial sanctions imposed by western powers have made it difficult for Iranians to import even medicine and foodstuff and the attempt to block Iranian oil exports is intended to ruin the economy and make ordinary people lose jobs, security, and dignity. The US and EU are also attempting to block all Iranian TV channels from satellite broadcasting; thus, blocking the free flow of information. What do such actions have to do with the nuclear program? In fact, these actions are consistent with western policy toward Iran well before the nuclear standoff. In the 1980s these countries supported Saddam Hussein and provided him with almost everything in their arsenal, including weapons of mass destruction. Western regimes helped Saddam obtain, develop, and use chemical weapons against Iranian combatants and civilians as well as Iraqi civilians killing many thousands of people and causing enormous suffering. Indeed, people are still suffering and dying today. The problem really lies with Iran’s independence and progress and western powers see this as a major threat to their regional as well as global hegemony and domination. Hence, any scientific or industrial breakthrough in Iran unsettles western powers and the western media and it encourages other peoples to pursue their own independence and to overthrow western backed dictatorships.
To what extent do the Iranian people support these achievements? Aren’t they affected by the pressures and influenced by the widespread propaganda against their country?
Actually, I believe that western criminal behavior against ordinary Iranians and their attempt to impose misery on people hurts the west more than anyone else. The attempt is to make people suffer and to put pressure on the government and political leadership and ultimately to overthrow the Islamic Republic. However, even according to polls carried out by Gallup, a western polling organization, the overwhelming majority of Iranians blame the west for the pain inflicted upon them and it makes them more steadfast. Beyond Iran’s boarders people also see this vicious behavior of western countries as a continuation of western policy of oppression and domination across the globe. This has been the experience of peoples throughout the world for centuries and in recent years people have repeatedly seen so called “civilized” western countries invade and occupy Afghanistan and Mali, destroy Iraq, devastate Libyan infrastructure, create civil war in Syria with the support of Arab dictatorships and in alliance with extremist forces, help enforce the siege of Gaza, murder many thousands throughout the region through drone attacks, and carry out many other similar crimes. Hence, most people do not take western regimes seriously when they speak of human rights and speak of themselves as the “Free World”. Iranians recognize that independence and human dignity come at a price. However, at the same time they see that their scientific achievements come about as a result of their independence.
American officials have recently been claiming that the country is ready to hold direct talks with Iran. Iran’s leader, however, has so far rejected the offer, saying that it is not honest. Why this offer is considered as dishonest by Iran? Would it not be better for Iran to enter into direct talks with the US and thus be able to solve bilateral problems and improve its own economic conditions as well?
Unless, the United States government behaves in a more rational manner and halts its attempts to hurt ordinary Iranians, there really is not much to talk about. Negotiations can only succeed when both sides show goodwill and the US is unable or unwilling to behave in such a manner.
In the past, the Iranians have shown goodwill on numerous occasions, despite their many grievances which include the US backed 1953 coup, western support for the shah, the shameless downing of an Iranian civilian airliner, and many other crimes against humanity linked to western regimes. However, after the Iranians agreed to speak with American officials about Afghanistan, Iran was declared a part of an axis of evil.
When Iran halted nuclear enrichment for two years and implemented the Additional Protocol, it simply came under additional pressure and when it signed the Tehran Declaration additional sanctions were imposed upon the country. Therefore, Iran has concluded that whenever the United States government comes to its senses and relinquishes its current policy, negotiations can take place.
For now Iran simply has no option but to push back against western hegemony and erode its foothold in the region.