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September 13, 2007

Iran: Larijani Reacts to Petraeus Report

Broadcast 12 September on Iranian state satellite TV (IRINN)

Ali Larijani, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, gave a 90-minute press conference in Tehran yesterday. He began by describing the Pretraeus/Crocker report to the US Congress the day before as a "play." His own press conference was also a carefully staged performance in which he argued that security improvements in Iraq have been more due to the work of Iraqis than to President Bush's surge. He also criticized the US for turning Iraq into an arms market and for not doing more to improve Iraq's public welfare infrastructure. I have translated a key excerpt from his opening remarks below:

*************************************************

Of course this report had very skilled players and they did a good job of preparing this play. They had to deal with a lot of problems. They realized that after a short time this artistic commotion was subsiding. They had to give a response to the main issue and talk about just what they have been doing in Iraq in these four years of occupation.

Crossposted to The Satellite News.

Broadcast 12 September on Iranian state satellite TV (IRINN)


Ali Larijani, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security
Council, gave a 90-minute press conference in Tehran yesterday. He
began by describing the Pretraeus/Crocker report to the US Congress
the day before as a "play." His own press conference was also a
carefully staged performance in which he argued that security
improvements in Iraq have been more due to the work of Iraqis than to President Bush's surge. He also criticized the US for turning Iraq into an arms market and for
not doing more to improve Iraq's public welfare infrastructure. I
have translated a key excerpt from his opening remarks below:

*************************************************

Of course this report had very skilled players and they did a good job of preparing this play. They had to deal with a lot of problems. They realized that after a short time this artistic commotion was subsiding. They had to give a response to the main issue and talk about just what they have been doing in Iraq in these four years of occupation.

Of course there are contradictions in this report which I think careful political observers will gradually bring out and clarify. For example in the part where they praised the successes they have had creating security and stability in Iraq they attributed this to the 20,000 soldiers they have added to the force in Iraq, because the primary objective of this play was to justify Mr. Bush's decision to add the 20,000 soldiers. They said security has been established in Anbar Province, in Baghdad and in many other areas and said the level of insecurity has been reduced.

At the same time they announced there is still a serious threat from Al-Qaeda. Then at the end they concluded that now is a good opportunity gradually to withdraw these 20,000. Do you think it is rational that they consider this the right thing to do? If they were so successful creating security with these 20,000, why remove them? They should stay there. The conclusion does not fit the introduction!

The reason goes back to something else. Yes, there have been changes in Iraq. Security has been created. Security has gotten better there, but not in the way stated in the report. This was not caused by what they did! It was caused by the various desires that have existed there. The sources of emulation (high Shia religious authorities) and especially His Holiness Ayatollah Sistani have played a significant role reducing the ethnic fighting. The political parties have played a very great role. The understanding and perception of the authentic groups in Iraq, the thinking the Iraqis have developed since the occupation and the image they have formed of the occupation and especially the neighbors who have helped from the beginning to create a political process in Iraq, have all played a role.

If anyone thinks security was established in Iraq with militarism, then the 20,000 ought not to leave. Security has improved in Iraq because some kind of political understanding has emerged. Some countries have helped this to happen. The Americans are very naive to think everyone will accept the idea that they did this by adding a few soldiers.


I'll give an example that contradicts this. In Basra the British
soldiers left. Statistics on violence and insecurity there have
dropped sharply. If you think the statistics on violence in Iraq have
fallen because of the presence of soldiers there, the opposite has
happened in Basra! The British left Basra and the statistics there
dropped sharply! If there was an average of 6 or 7 incidents per week
there, this has dropped to one per week. This was the result of the
political understanding and rationality that have emerged for running
the government in Iraq. It seems this is something else they have not
taken into consideration. They have not realized that these things
have nothing to do with them. They have to do with political maturity
and the insight of the Iraqi government, Mr. Maleki's government, the
high Shia authorities, the political parties that have come to exist
there, all these things have played a part!

Some of the events of the last few days will clarify very soon that the information they have given there is not correct. For example if you remember about 20 days or a month ago a coalition formed in Iraq, a four- or five-part coalition that held meetings. The Americans were among the first to condemn this coalition, yet in this report they took credit themselves for forming the coalition! We can see from this that they have condemned themselves. How can they take credit?


We have no problem if they want to make themselves feel good about
the things other people have done, but we must realize that this was
not their work. Effective elements have played a role there. Iran
has believed from the beginning in the political process in Iraq and
the establishment of a democratic government there; we are the
only country in the region that has supported the political process in
Iraq and the project of democratizing Iraq, contrary to what it says
in this report where they gave the names of other nations. They
ignored the roles of the high Shia authorities, the government, the
political parties and and the intellectual forces in Iraq because of a
few they added. They wanted to justify...

Of course they may be right! Mr. Bush recently went there and they had to make a good report based on his orders. This is understandable, but the face that exists in Iraq differs from the one shown in this report.

There are some things in this report that I'm not sure how to describe. For example they say they have created an Iraq that has now become an arms market for America. This is a disaster! After the occupation that have created a market in Iraq for US arms!

How many hospitals have they built for the people in Iraq? How many universities? How many elementary schools? How many public health centers? If their report had given information about things like this it would have made the people of the world very happy! Unfortunately they have closed most of the hospitals and public health clinics in Iraq. They don't have a single hospital in Baghdad! This is what they have done. They have left two hours of electricity for the nation of Iraq. You should give the people of Iraq water and electricity!

Iran is the only country giving Iraq fuel! Last year we gave Iraq a huge amount of fuel in difficult circumstances. We gave them gas oil and kerosene. We are the only country that is giving Iraq electricity! Have they given Iraq electricity or created resources?


In Samarra the greatest insult was perpetrated against Muslim
sacred symbols. Have they done anything against the violence? Today
they are killing Sunnis in the name of the Shias and they are killing
Shias in the name of the Sunnis. We have intelligence about this! We
know what is happening in Iraq.

Was the aversion of civil war following the Samarra incident the result of their soldiers, or was it the result of the actions of the Shia high authorities? Was it the result of the actions of the leader of the Islamic revolution who advised the people? We remained calm despite all this unrest. Instead of producing a good performance report on Iraq they are saying they created an arms market in Iraq! This is a disaster for us.

Crossposted to The Satellite News.



Posted by John at September 13, 2007 9:03 AM





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