by Arash Karami, Al-Monitor
At the commemoration for the Iran-Iraq war in the city of Qom, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, talked about the importance of the war in shaping Iran’s identity and achievements at present. He said that today’s officials should continue “the values” of the Sacred Defense, which is how Iran refers to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.
Jafari also discussed the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), reiterating that the negotiations are simply about the nuclear program and not anything beyond that.
He said, “The esteem of Iran is from the achievements of the Sacred Defense. It’s America that with hardship is after a [nuclear] agreement with Iran to resolve its problems. They know that if they have enmity with Iran they will not reach any of their goals and they know that the Islamic revolution is in their way and will not allow them to reach their goals.”
According to the transcript by Tasnim News Agency, Jafari did not elaborate what those goals were though many within the conservative factions in Iran accuse the United States of using instability in the region to maintain its hegemony.
Jafari said that Iran’s goal in the negotiations is the removal of sanctions, adding, “God willing, this goal will be reached.” But he said that the US goal “is something else. Therefore, stretching the negotiations is because of these goals.” He said that once a deal is reached, everyone will see that Iran did not retreat from its positions.
According to a transcript provided by Fars News Agency, Jafari said that if there is a nuclear agreement, “everyone will find out that the issue is only nuclear and not ideals or values. Just as the supreme leader said, Iran will not retreat one step from its Islamic and revolutionary ideals and values.”
Jafari’s statements can be construed of being in support of a deal that removes sanctions, which most of the Iranian political factions have publicly expressed support for. Many of the more conservative websites have in recent days criticized the “excessive demands” of the United States with respect to Iran’s nuclear program in return for partial sanction relief.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has a final say on the nuclear program, has not issued any statements on the nuclear negotiations lately. His website, Khamenei.ir, did publish Nov. 19 a compilation of his statements from June 1989 to October 2014 regarding the importance of Iran’s economy reducing its reliance on oil. The article titled “A three-decade-old wish” reported that “the issue of replacement energy and not relying on oil was seriously studied by” the supreme leader. The article continued, “One of the most important reasons for the persistence of Ayatollah Khamenei on the issue of nuclear energy and his continued insistence on the necessity to use this technology is understandable from this angle.”
The current nuclear negotiations in Vienna is the top story in most Iranian news agencies. According to Iranian Students’ News Agency, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham denied on Nov. 19 that the negotiators were discussing an extension, as has been reported by various Western news agencies.