Exclusive interview with Raisi: Iran ready to join BRICS
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses during an exclusive interview with Al Mayadeen the numerous developments taking place in the region and in the international arena.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi revealed new details regarding the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran during an exclusive interview with Al Mayadeen that aired on Tuesday. Raisi also delved into various topics including Iran's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ties to Syria, and Israeli threats.
During the interview, President Raisi underlined that Iran’s power and advancement have become a benchmark for other countries in the Global South that aim to fight global imperialist powers, in particular the United States, adding that despite the West’s decades-long inhumane sanctions and siege, the latest of which is the maximum pressure campaign imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump and continued by his successor President Joe Biden, the Islamic Republic continued its steady and remarkable growth and has deepened and developed its relations with international countries.
Raisi stressed that the Iranian nation has reached a conviction that they can manage their own affairs independently, and not rely on foreigners.
The Iranian President said that the wise leadership and strong guidance of the late Imam Khomeini, and now Iran’s leader Sayyed Khamenei, are the main element that established Iran’s power, security, and system.
To further emphasize the matter, Raisi stated that today the enemies are targeting the country’s foundations and its success, such as the faith of the Iranian people, their confidence to rely on themselves, and the guidance of the jurist – the pillar of the Islamic revolution.
The President emphasized that the Iranian people are the source of the country's strength and that is the reason that enemies can't commit any foolishness.
Raisi recalled the popular events commemorating the victory of the Islamic Revolution and International Al-Quds Day. The Iranian people covered the streets nationwide to take part in commemorating this event, he added.
Iran believes that the expertise accumulated by the Islamic Republic can be set as an example for other nations.
Iran-Saudi rapprochement behind the scenes
President Raisi announced that since he took office, his government's policy is to prioritize establishing friendly ties with neighboring countries and developing bilateral relations in several areas, including the political, economic, cultural, and social fields.
Touching upon this matter, he stressed that religion, culture, and history are shared with the brotherly neighbors of Iran, including West Asia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, especially Islamic countries.
Raisi also revealed some details regarding the events that led to the rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh.
1/5 #AlMayadeen Exclusive | #Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reveals some details regarding the events that led to the rapprochement between #Tehran and #Riyadh. pic.twitter.com/eFP5oORY3g— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 2, 2023
There were preliminary security negotiations with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad that were initiated under the previous government, he said.
"During my visit to Beijing, the Chinese President [Xi Jinping] said that during his earlier visit to Saudi Arabia, he had reached a proposal," and suggested that Iran and Saudi Arabia resume relations, Iran's President stated.
Raisi said that he, at that time, expressed readiness to re-establish relations with Riyadh and that the initial steps toward Xi's proposal were taken while he was in Beijing.
Xi in return told Raisi during the meeting that the Saudi leadership expressed their desire to restore relations with Iran and that he [Xi] will follow up on the mediation.
Remarking on Beijing's mediating role, Raisi noted that some countries may not have wanted China to be the mediator, but Tehran regarded it in a positive manner.
2/5 #AlMayadeen Exclusive | Talking about #Beijing's mediating role in the rapprochement between #Iran and #SaudiArabia, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi noted that some countries may not have wanted China to be the mediator, but Tehran regarded it in a positive manner. pic.twitter.com/hZuOeYVOiW— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 2, 2023
"It was decided that a person be appointed by the Saudi government and that we send a representative and a delegation on our behalf for the bilateral dialogue between the two countries," Raisi said.
"The King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent their National Security Adviser, and we also decided to send the Secretary of the National Security Council, and it was decided that they discuss issues of concern to the two countries, and it was also decided that political relations between the two countries would resume ties," and this process will continue and further communication will be established, he confirmed.
Raisi continued that Iran and Saudi Arabia are two major countries in West Asia, and the two countries have an important and influential political and social impact in the region.
The relations between the two countries can bear many benefits for the region, the President said.
"Therefore, we welcomed the restoration of these relations, and certainly the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the rest of the Islamic countries, would help to exchange expertise between countries of the region."
According to Raisi, the main and most important point [of restoring ties with Saudis] is that the nations of the region and of the Islamic world felt relieved by these relations and welcomed them, while the enemies were frustrated, including the Zionist entity that revealed its rage caused by the event.
The Zionists seek division between Islamic countries, while Iran believes that strategic unity is essential, he noted, adding that "Israel's" strategy is to divide and conquer and to sow division, while the strategy of the Islamic Republic is one of unity and harmony.
"In my first speech after taking office, I declared frankly that we can negotiate with Saudi Arabia, and we are ready to resume the work of diplomatic missions in the two countries," and to sit down with Saudis to resolve issues, he noted.
Raisi stressed that Iran believes that countries must make their own decisions and decide their own fates, and they must prevent any outside power from imposing its will on their political policies.
"For example, Lebanon and the Lebanese must decide [on how to solve their own issues]. We believe that foreign intervention in Lebanon is what causes problems in the country," he said, stressing that "if the Lebanese decide, as well as the Yemenis, if they decide their own fate, and were able to carry out internal dialogues, then they can solve their problems."
Foreign interference in countries only leads to creating problems and does not solve any problem, Raisi added.
New world order favors Resistance
Commenting on the Israeli occupation's recent threats against Iran, the Iranian President assured that "the Zionist entity cannot compete with the Palestinian youth, and it cannot conquer Gaza, and it cannot challenge the West Bank," adding that Israelis are also unable to provide security to their internal front.
"The circumstances today have greatly changed," he underscored.
It has become apparent today that no treaties or normalization agreements can protect this entity, and that the rules of confrontation cannot be determined through political forums. Instead, it is the Palestinian Resistance that creates the conditions and it is they that hold the power to decide.
"The Zionist entity, whether in the thirty-three days war [July war on Lebanon] or in the twenty-two days war and the eleven-day war, faced a catastrophic failure, so how does this entity want to confront and attack the center of power and pride in the region, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and confront a nation that is present on the battlefronts with this might?"
The entity knows very well that it and its threats are mere lip service, Riaisi added.
3/5 #AlMayadeen Exclusive | "Israel will not withstand our retaliation."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 2, 2023
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reveals the plan in case "Israel" chose to target Iran. pic.twitter.com/rlrnRpkuCf
Addressing the Arab nations, he advised people to listen to a comprehensive analysis made by Iranian leader Sayyed Khamenei earlier during the holy month of Ramadan, which concluded that the world is pivoting in the opposite direction to unipolarity and toward a new order.
"Today, the circumstances are pivoting in favor of the Resistance and against the Zionist entity," said Raisi.
"Day after day, the Zionist entity is heading toward its demise," the political and social situation within "Israel" is unprecedented, he added.
The demise of the entity and its protectors can be witnessed today, and all the Resistance front day after day is heading towards more strength and power, said the Iranian President.
"Therefore, I want to say clearly that the current conditions in the new world order are in favor of the Resistance and against the Zionist entity."
Raisi continued, "The threats made by the Zionist entity are sometimes empty, and they know it."
"The evidence for that is that they cannot confront the Resistance youth in Palestine and the region," he said. "So how does it make threats about attacking Iran? This is farcical talk that no one in the world believes or takes seriously."
Asked about Iran's response to any Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic, the Iranian President said that the first response to the aggression would be catastrophic for the entity and would lead to its demise. "Because Iran's power today is within the country, and Iran's power in the region is of an unmistakable magnitude," he explained.
"The first blunder and step made by the Zionist entity will be its last, and there will no longer be this thing called the Zionist entity to even take another step," he warned.
"We have said and announced this in various forums, and they know very well that we are serious about this view, this step, and this decision."
Israelis know that the initial Iranian response will lead to the collapse of the Iron Dome, Raisi said.
Syria integral to Axis of Resistance
With regard to Syria, Raisi said "Syria has always been on the frontlines of the Axis of Resistance, whether during the time of President Bashar Al-Assad’s father, the late Hafez Al-Assad, or during the tenure of President Bashar Al-Assad."
The US, through the creation and funding of ISIS and the takfiri factions, and through the sowing of sedition in Syria, and other militant groups, was seeking to divide Syria, he said.
The Americans also incited the Arab countries against Syria, and the Arab countries also sought to settle their scores with Syria, he added.
However, despite thinking that Syria will collapse and the Resistance frontlines will fall through the internal war that broke out at the hands of the takfiri factions and through the Zionist support for them as well as the support of the US, the Islamic Republic of Iran stood with the Arab state, and it is perhaps the only country that supported the Syrian government and stood up to all the takfiri factions and separatist movements, and even to some regional states, he said.
"Today, the circumstances have drastically changed in Syria, and the difference is that it is known that the Resistance has paid off," and with all fairness, "President Bashar Al-Assad has stood firm, and he deserves appreciation," the Iranian president stressed.
He continued: "The Syrian people have also been courageous. They have proven that they are a people of Resistance and that this era of Resistance is considered a golden era in the history of Syria."
Raisi praised the Syrian nation that fought "the enemies, the separatists, and the takfiri faction" with courage and faced and endured a lot of hardship, including many economic and security difficulties, but they withstood and fought against this global war on their country.
According to Raisi, Lebanon, Hezbollah, the Syrian people, and Iran were on the battlefront to prevent the nation from being carved up and divided, and the resistance of the Syrian people is worthy of praise, as the actions of the Syrian people and government are very impressive and bring pride.
At present time, he said, "many countries all over the world have come to the realization that Syria is not one to fail and be dealt defeats, and they have come to reconsider their ties with it."
He also explained that Iran welcomes Syria's rapprochement with numerous countries all over the world, especially those in the region and the Islamic World.
"The ties between Iran and Syria are highly strategic and highly important, and we stress that these relations will continue and span several spheres, including security, economy, and culture. We are two Muslim peoples, and our ties go way back. There exist many bonds between the two Muslim and brotherly peoples, and we hope that, under the leadership of leader Sayyed Khamenei, who fully stressed the need for the resistance to have a united front, [...] the ties between the two countries will continue to develop," he added.
"His Eminence, the Leader, and the government have announced many times that we will never regret supporting the resistance. In accordance with this policy, we never hesitate to support the resistance, and we will not hesitate. Ever. And my visit to Syria comes within the framework of supporting the resistance," the Iranian President underlined.
"We must stress several issues related to Syria," he said. "Firstly, the sovereignty of the Syrian government all over Syrian lands. We affirm this, and we believe that the US must leave Syria as soon as possible. We believe that Syrian sovereignty should prevail over all Syrian lands."
"We, during the tripartite summit in Tehran, with the participation of Turkey and Russia, must emphasize emboldening Syria's sovereignty over all Syrian lands. This is for the benefit of Syria and the benefit of the region."
The second issue, he underlined is regarding the return of the Syrian refugees to their homes and cities.
Thirdly, he went on to say, a certainly important issue is the reconstruction of Syria. "Regarding the reconstruction of Syria, we are ready to cooperate with the Syrian people and government, and we, in the Islamic Republic, have highly qualified technical teams and companies capable of playing an important role in the reconstruction of Syria."
4/5 #AlMayadeen Exclusive | Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says that Iran has highly qualified technical teams and companies capable of playing an important role in the reconstruction of #Syria. pic.twitter.com/s66PEj1J7B— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 2, 2023
Iran's growing presence in the international arena
Iran extends its arm in friendship and cooperation to any country that seeks cooperation with it. From this point of view, Tehran is ready to deal and cooperate with all countries, whether within or outside the region.
"We condemn US unilateralism. We think we should not be under anyone's authority, and we must not exercise authority over others. We believe that the countries of the world are not limited to three or four countries that consider themselves the rulers of the world, such as the United States. The Islamic Republic of Iran relies on constructive relations with all countries on the basis of common interests," Raisi explained.
Iran has good relations with China and with Russia as well, he highlighted, noting that the Republic's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization provided it with a platform for cooperation with major countries in Asia.
"We consider that these relations are good relations for us, and we are ready to join BRICS, and this provides the Islamic Republic of Iran with new possibilities to play an important role using its own capabilities and abundant energies," he said.
The United States, according to the Iranian President, is trying to sow despair among the Iranian people regarding their capabilities. However, the Islamic Republic stresses the cultivation of trust and hope, and there is evidence of its initiative in the various spheres within which the country operates.
"The enemy wanted to isolate us, limit our relations and hinder our presence in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and regional and international organizations, but its attempts were met with failure, and our relations with the world are growing by the day."
Martyr Qassem Soleimani
Raisi also touched on the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps' Quds Force commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, saying he was a hero in the fight against terrorism, lauding his role in the resistance struggle in Syria and Iraq. "He confronted the offensives of ISIS and the Takfiri groups through help from the popular resistance groups in Iraq and Syria, and he was successful."
"In cooperation with the Iraqi and Syrian people, and in cooperation with Lebanon's Hezbollah, he was able to eradicate the stream of terrorists," he stressed.
Commenting on his raising of Soleimani's photo at the UNGA, Raisi said he did that to show those who claim to be fighting terrorism that they "are assassinating the hero of the fight against terrorism. Who assassinated him? The US President at the time [Donald Trump]."
The assassination of Hajj Qassem Soleimani is the assassination of not only a prominent military figure, but also a strategic figure, a strategic person, and a man who was always on the battlefield who managed to simultaneously be a capable diplomat. "Such a person was assassinated by the Americans."
Raisi also cited a saying by Iranian Revolutionary Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei when he said that "Martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani is more dangerous than Hajj Qassem Soleimani himself," pointing out that they thought that "by assassinating Hajj Qassem Soleimani, they would assassinate his thoughts, and they are today seeing the ramifications of this all over the region [...] The people of the region and its youths are very proud of Soleimani, and he has become a school of thought for our people and the resistance's youth all over the region."
People of the region have faith in Nasrallah
Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance movement, enjoys a special stature not only in Lebanon but in the region at large, whereby the party stands as a robust pillar of regional resistance.
On the day of the party's inception - founded by martyr Sayyed Abbas Moussawi and persisted through the efforts of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and the revolutionary Lebanese youth - nobody would have expected that the Zionist entity would withdraw from south Lebanon.
"And later, when Hezbollah chivalrously withstood the large-scale Israeli aggression in the 2006 war, they proved, for the first time, that Israel is not invincible. Hezbollah inspired the Palestinian youth to stand up to the Zionist entity, which was evident through the First, Second, and Third Intifada," he explained
"Today, we see the Palestinian youth admirably withstanding Israeli aggression and contending it. This is what they learned of Hezbollah in Lebanon. "
"Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah is a remarkable character. In addition to being a knowledgeable cleric, he is an excellent politician and revolutionary. He enjoys a remarkable flair for captivating the hearts of his audience, appealing to the different sects of the Lebanese constituency."
Raisi emphasized that revolutionary youth all around the world look to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as a revolutionary icon of anti-imperialism.
"In Iran, specifically, we consider him a prominent individual, and we see his character as immortal in light of his struggle and resilience against the Zionist entity."
Raisi also emphasized the special type of trust vested in Hezbollah by the Lebanese constituency and in Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah specifically, saying it was a special and deep relationship.
He also noted that he has heard that even from within the occupied territories, the Palestinians have a large degree of faith in Sayyed Nasrallah. He added that the relationship between Sayyed Nasrallah and all the Muslim nations, including Iran, is a deep relationship built on trust.
5/5 #AlMayadeen Exclusive | Iranian President describes how his country has faith in Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 2, 2023
Watch the full interview: https://t.co/jpYHYV1Zlf pic.twitter.com/Smhm09LBXo
The Iranian people
The Iranian President underlined that the Iranian people have been convinced that they can stand up on their own two feet and independently manage their affairs, without reliance on foreign powers
"This confidence in their own capabilities has been engraved into the Iranian people's minds, and this, in itself, is the key to the Iranian people's success and victory."
Raisi also lauded the role of the Iranian leadership and the directives of Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei, saying it was fair to say that his eminence "is leading the people through everything, and despite all the turmoil, he led the country and gave it strength."
"The Iranian people have come to realize that this system is a tent, and the pillar propping it up is the guardian of the jurors and the leader of the Islamic Republic, therefore they trust both of these jurisdictions."
Iran has today achieved self-sufficiency, and it has been able to be a leading country in the defense and nuclear sectors, he concluded.
To watch the full interview, click here