Khamenei: US invented nuclear Myth; Iran will Never Invade another Country

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –

The clerical leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, gave a speech on Sunday in which he urged that Iran maintain its military readiness in order to fend off any hostile invasion or attack. But, he said, “Iran has never invaded a country and never will.” He also called US charges that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon a “myth” and “propaganda.”

Whatever else is wrong with the Islamic Republic of Iran, you have to admit that it is refreshing for a country’s leader to make such a pledge. No American politician could even run for election on such a platform, of “no conventional military attack on another country.” American politicians are always talking about keeping all options open or ‘on the table’, by which they mean that Washington might at any moment take it into its head suddenly to go to aggressive war against another country, even though that country had not attacked the US. The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 was only the most recent and dramatic such attack.

Iran has a small military budget, about $10 bn., on the order of that of Norway or Singapore. It has no air force to speak of. The US military budget is roughly 80 times that of Iran.

Khamenei said that Iran has a no first strike policy and is no danger to its immediate neighbors (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Iraq, and Kuwait), much less to countries further away (he may be referring to Israel and Yemen).

What about Khamenei’s claim that Iran hasn’t invaded another country? He probably meant the the Islamic Republic has launched no wars of aggression since its founding in 1979. This is true. In 1980 Iraq invaded Iran. Iran fought the invaders to a standstill and ultimately made peace, making no effort to occupy Iraqi territory.

Iran did invade Herat in Afghanistan in the 1850s, but Iranians argue that Herat had long been part of the Iranian empire and so Iran was just recovering what was theirs. Before that, Iran invaded Iraq in 1785 and took Basra. So it has been a long time.

Critics of Iran will complain that it does support Hizbullah and the al-Assad regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen. This is true, though the latter has been exaggerated. But offering an ally strategic advice or logistical help on demand is different from invading with tanks.

Those who only read the US press on Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program may be surprised to see Khamenei deny that Iran wants a nuclear bomb. But he has been saying this all along. He said in 2006 of US criticisms of his country:

“Their other issue is [their assertion] that Iran seeks [a] nuclear bomb. It is an irrelevant and wrong statement, it is a sheer lie. We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules. We have announced this openly. We think imposing the costs of building and maintaining nuclear weapons on our nation is unnecessary. Building such weapons and their maintenance are costly. By no means we deem it right to impose these costs on the people. We do not need those weapons. Unlike the Americans who want to rule the world with force, we do not claim to control the world and therefore do not need a nuclear bomb.”

Khamenei has repeated this stance numerous times, but the US media can’t seem to hear him say it. He considers nuclear bombs to be against Islamic law, since they kill large numbers of innocent non-combatants, including women and children, when deployed. Of course, he could be lying. But that is sort of like the Pope maintaining a condom factory in the basement of the Vatican. You have to ask yourself, why ban something religiously that you intend to promote in actuality? If the contradiction became known, it would damage the religious leader’s credibility.

According to the BBC Monitoring translation of Khamenei.ir , Khamenei said:

“Iran not “a threat” to any country

The Islamic Republic is not a threat to any country. We have never been a threat even to our neighbours, let alone to distant countries. Our contemporary history clearly shows this. Even when some of our neighbours treated us not in a neighbourly manner, we showed restraint. Iran has never invaded a country and never will. The fake myth of nuclear weapons has been devised by America and then Europe and some other bootlickers in order to portray the Islamic Republic as a threat.”

Khamenei went on to point out that it is the USA that has illegally launched wars of aggression in the Middle East, along with Israel. Iran, he said, never has.

I think he was pointing to Iraq when he said, “Even in some cases it has graciously forgiven the bad attitude of its neighbours. Insecurity is coming from the direction of unleashed powers which take over everywhere.”

As for Yemen, while Iran stands accused of giving military aid to the rebel Houthi movement, that charge is not easy to prove. It seems unlikely that the Houthis needed Iran to launch their protest movement. It is Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the USA, who have launched an attack on the Houthis even though they did not attack Saudi Arabia. Khamenei in his speech said that Iran is merely helping countries that have been attacked.

Today, these heartbreaking events are happening in Yemen and the Americans support the tyrant. The West supports the tyrant. Insecurity is coming from their direction. It is them who make countries unsafe, and make the environment insecure for people to live in. It is them who bring insecurity. The Islamic Republic of Iran considers security as the biggest divine gift both for itself and others and stands up for its security and defends it.”

h/t to BBC Monitoring for translations.

Related video:

Wochit News: “Khamenei Says Iran Nuclear Weapons are a U.S. ‘myth'”

22 Responses

  1. If Khamenei is to be believed, how do we account for the fact that Iran is nearing completion of its program to develop and produce ICBM’s? ICBM’s are weapons of far-reaching aggression that have no discernible peaceful or defensive purpose.

    • Roger, ICBM’s are not just offensive weapons, they also have strong deterrence quality. Additionally, there is no legal prohibition on Iran from producing ICBM’s. We are obviously developing anti-ballistic missile systems all over Europe to supposedly (some say it is more to neutralize Russian ICBM’s) contain Iranian and North Korean ICBM threat!!

    • They do have a deterrent capability, in as far as a would be aggressor would think twice before striking the country since they know Iran can strike back. In fact that has been the stated use of such weapons since the 1950s by all those who have deployed them. Why would Iran be any different?

    • Are you forgetting that Israel regularly threatens to bomb Iran? Since Iran has no significant offensive air force to return such an attack, ICBMs make perfect sense as a deterrent to Israeli aggression.

    • RC: …”how do we account for the fact”….

      Odd use of the word “fact” there, Roger.

      In which world is making an “accusation” all that is required to turn something into “fact”?

      Here is an assertion: Iran does not possess ICBMs, and is not developing ICBMs.

      Now, care to show us any evidence to the contrary?

  2. I find it impossible to believe that the founder of Salem and Beverly and my eighth Great Grandfather can not see through the Fox fog.

  3. In an OpEd in today’s New York Times, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remarked that Iran and P5+1 have agreed on parameters to remove any doubt about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. He also wrote: “With courageous leadership and the audacity to make the right decisions, we can and should put this manufactured crisis to rest and move on to much more important work. The wider Persian Gulf region is in turmoil. It is not a question of governments rising and falling: the social, cultural and religious fabrics of entire countries are being torn to shreds.”

    He then made a very important offer: “A regional dialogue could help promote understanding and interaction at the levels of government, the private sector and civil society, and lead to agreement on a broad spectrum of issues, including confidence- and security-building measures; combating terrorism, extremism and sectarianism; ensuring freedom of navigation and the free flow of oil and other resources; and protection of the environment. A regional dialogue could eventually include more formal nonaggression and security cooperation arrangements.”

    This is a restatement of what Ayatollah Khamenei said only a week ago, namely that the nuclear deal could provide a test case. If the West shows goodwill and good faith, it will pave the way for cooperation on many regional issues. It shows that Iran is not only interested in resolving the nuclear issue, but is willing to cooperate with the West on a whole range of regional issues. It is time that the West seized the opportunity and turned a new chapter in relations with Iran, which can help resolve many of the on-going crises in the Middle East. It is time to look forward rather than stick to old hostilities.

  4. Can’t find too much wrong with this man’s statements. They seem to be backed up with some long history.
    America should try living by some of these ideas. But, I venture arms sales may be too important to our values to go that route. But, then again, shouldn’t our Christian values have some bearing on our thinking?
    Just where do American values reside?

  5. The Supreme Leader-for-Life is suffering from some amnesia about the IRI’s war with Iraq: Saddam bore the lion’s share of blame for initiating hostilities and for the war until 1982. After the Iraqis had been driven out in 1982, Saddam offered a truce and (with help of the Persian Gulf Arab states) to pay $70 billion in reparations. The IRI refused and said that its aim was to march to Karbala and from there to Jerusalem (“rah-e Qods az Karbala migozarad”). The IRI, moreover, tried to conquer Basra but failed (most prominently during the Fao campaign near the war’s end). It continued to refuse to end the war until 1988, when it finally agreed. The vast majority of deaths and destruction took place in the years 1982-1988.

    • Exactly, I know that the leaders of the Arab Sunni monarchies and plutocracies are this bad and that bad, but who said that such peoples welcome the Iranian Revolution as an obvious alternative? (the Iranian revolutionaries seem to be living a mirror image of the Neo-Con dream, that we will accept them with flowers in the streets, while the truth is, the best they can hope to get out of this chaos is al-Qaeda or ISIS, et al., to which the grudging admission has to be made that the Al-Saud, Al-Maktum and so forth are better alternatives for Iran).

  6. Back in 2003 a reformist Iranian newspaper published a lengthy article of mine which attempted to outline the real costs of possessing nuclear weapons – including very monetary and environmental costs, the need for an industrial strength security apparatus, as well as very heavy psychological costs (having nukes make one insane).

    I know that the people of Iran do not need any lectures from me, but I thought it was interesting that they had (than at least) the sort of open discussion about nuclear weapons that almost never happens in the US.

    • The Shah was the elected puppet of the U.S. and the British after these two oil giants had the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh forced into a house arrest for having wanted to nationalize Iranian oil… The Shah’s strong iron arm was his secret police, the Savak, trained by the MI6, the CIA and Israel’s Mossad. You see… It was not the Iran the US has wanted us to know all along…

      • Your version of “history” is quite entertaining. Mosaddegh was not “democratically elected”. Twice, he was appointed as premier by the Shah (who succeeded his father to the throne in 1941) and twice Mosaddegh was dismissed. The position of prime minister was not an “elected” one, let alone “democratically elected”. The total number of people executed by the Shah during his reign (1941-1979) was about 400, as investigated by the French journalist Paul Balta. The Mollah Regime executed over 700 in 2014 alone! Not to mention, the tens of thousands of political prisoners executed by the mollahs in the 1980s. You were saying?

        • Dr. Mossadegh was appointed prime minister only after being nominated by the Iranian parliament – which he obtained in a lopsided vote.

          One of Dr. Mossadegh’s close associates, Mehdi Bazagan, became premiere of the Islamic Republic of Iran until resigning in protest of the Iranian hostage taking at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran.

        • ”The total number of people executed by the Shah during his reign (1941-1979) was about 400, as investigated by the French journalist Paul Balta. The Mollah Regime executed over 700 in 2014 alone! Not to mention, the tens of thousands of political prisoners executed by the mollahs in the 1980s. You were saying?”

          Do your research about the French involvement in the Middle East and you’ll find out that they encouraged a succession of Muslim leaders, and gave Khomeini all the media advantage when he was living in France and writing about his phylosophy of future Iranian politics: link to timeworthybooks.com

          Body count looks bad when said the way you write it, but peanuts compared to US’ doings: hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians burned and disintegrated by nuclear bombs, 5 million North Koreans, 4 million Vietnamese (and counting thanks to the Agent Orange still producing birth defects and deaths…), plus hundreds of thousands of Cambodians, 1 million Iraqis and counting, tens of thousands of Libyans, Pakistanis, Afghans (numbers hidden), and other hits on other countries not at war with the US, AND now the obvious intent to go to war against Russia. My version is real at least, and entertaining for those who see the US as ”exceptional”, exceptionally barbarian to me and to historians that claim the US is the most murderous country in history with its some 170 wars since the 1800s, including the genocidal wars against the Natives living in the US before the US’ creation… These numbers are entertaining, don’t you think?

  7. US politicians can’t even say the US will not initiate a nuclear attack anymore. “No first strike” as a doctrine is, incredibly, off the table for the US! And, not that long ago, it would have seemed to be a no-brainer.

  8. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Iran’s formal answer to your question would be the same as Israel’s: they’re for launching communications satellites.

    The fact is that neither of these countries can be trusted. Unless, of course, one subscribes to the notion of responsible white races that can be entrusted with such things versus the Mud Peoples. File that dubious assumption to a number of others under Israeli Exceptionalism.

    No. Even history cannot be trusted, much less the word of any one person (or a policy position) which can be changed on a whim. But that doesn’t mean you don’t pursue a meaningful agreement that is less than perfect.

  9. I’m reminded of former IAEA chief, Muhamed El Baradei’s comment, “The United States does not take yes for an answer.”

  10. Ask any American politician if the US will ever invade any other country, or seize its territory, etc. These promises have no value whatsoever. Iran is not going to initiate nuclear war to grab territory, but having nukes would prevent attack by Israel if Iran chooses to support various anti-Israel organizations (which it already does).

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