Bush trying to foment discord in Mideast: IRGC commander

January 28, 2008

TEHRAN - Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Commander Mohammad-Ali Jafari said here on Sunday that U.S. President George W. Bush traveled to the Middle East to invite Arab countries to join the West’s efforts to isolate Iran and to foment discord between the Islamic Republic and its Arab neighbors.

On his recent visit to Persian Gulf countries, Bush branded Iran the leading state sponsor of terror, and said “all options” against Tehran remain on the table.
Bush became concerned about the warming relations between Iran and its southern neighbors, which was a result of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s “successful visits to the Persian Gulf states”, and thus he headed to the region to continue the U.S. policy of “spreading lies, which we have witnessed over the past three decades,” Jafari told Al-Jazeera television on Saturday.
He rejected the idea that the U.S. president was seeking to prepare the ground for a military strike against the Islamic Republic.
The reports of the UN nuclear watchdog and U.S. intelligence agencies, confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities, have removed all pretexts for the West to attack Iran, he said.
Bush launched his Middle East tour to divert attention from the United States’ failure in its efforts to gain the international community’s support for its baseless accusations about Iran’s civilian nuclear program, he opined.
Jafari said Iran does not regard Bush’s “meaningless remarks” about Iran’s role in the region as a threat to its security and reiterated that the U.S. president is seeking to sow discord between Iran and Muslim Arab countries.
However, the Iranian military will retaliate against U.S. military bases in the Persian Gulf if they are used for an attack on Iran, AP quoted the IRGC commander as saying.
“Of course, if the U.S. attacks Iran, Iran’s first response will be defense with all its might and this might is far greater than (Iran’s) strength at the time of the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime (the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war).”
However, he assured Persian Gulf littoral countries, some of which host U.S. military bases, that only the U.S. forces would come under counterattack and that Iran “would never endanger regional countries.”
“We realize that there is concern among Muslim countries that host U.S. military bases,” Jafari said.
“However, if the U.S. launches a war against us, and if it uses these bases to attack Iran with missiles, then, through the strength and precision of our own missiles, we are capable of targeting only the U.S. military forces that attack us,” he told Al-Jazeera.
The U.S. military has several bases in Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Yemen.
Despite the U.S. military’s supremacy in air power and advanced electronic equipment, Iran can counter any attack just like the Hezbollah forces that achieved victory in the 33-day war against the Zionist regime, Jafari said.
Hezbollah soldiers did not have high-tech weapons but managed to defeat the region’s most advanced and best-equipped military, he added.
He said the U.S. military bases in neighboring countries are not a “source of power” but a “source of vulnerability” for the U.S. troops.
“They believe they have encircled Iran, but they are definitely aware that they are within range of our long-range guns and medium-range missiles.”
Jafari ruled out the possibility of a ground attack against Iran, saying, “I do not think U.S. troops or even its politicians are crazy enough to try that.”
He said the world’s secular powers feel threatened by Iran’s growing “spiritual, political, and revolutionary power” which has created unity and Islamic vigilance in the country and enjoys the support of many Muslims around the world.
Asked how Iran would respond to an attack by the Zionist regime, Jafari said, “Our information about the regime occupying Qods tells us that they would not make such a great and historic mistake.”
However, he said the U.S. and Israel are both pursuing the same objectives and if they are foolish enough to attack Iran, “we will be free to make a decision and we will do what we decide to do, and that is what Israel is worried about.