By Habib Ahmadzadeh

Trump, Zarif and we Iranians

August 6, 2019

TEHRAN - President Trump, in his latest Tweet, claims that “Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation.” As a world citizen, and a veteran of Iran-Iraq war with firsthand experience of the bitterness of war, I have a couple of suggestions and responses for the president of the United States. 

First, I would like to recommend to him, never use the word win and winning to describe any war.  Besides, American history is filled with bitter experiences of war and losing. There is no need to remind the president of the United States the result of American wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and even the engagement in Yemen. None of these horrifying experiences and any other war for that matter has ever reached its goals. 
As a veteran and a peace activist, I would like to suggest to the president of the United States, that the first step in any combat is understanding the adversary. Sir, as an experienced Iranian war veteran, I strongly suggest you study the culture and history of an old civilization like Iran. Iranians, those you label as a “terrorist nation” are proud and pleased for not initiating a war in the past 250 years. We proudly have never invaded, invaded and oppressed any other nation, either in our neighborhood or even in response to revilers and foes. 

Nonetheless, there is a delicacy in the sophisticated culture of Iran that distinguishes the ancient nation of Iran from you, Mr. President, and your hawkish #Bteam. That is the view we each have toward war. War for us, is not an option; we never choose to go to war; we only respond to war. 

In 1915, amid WWI, Rais Ali Delvary, a young man from along with his small group of men, from a tiny village near the Persian Gulf, defended the country from the British invaders. They stopped the invaders who ignored Iran’s neutrality during the war. Rais Ali’s slogan of the time stood with the nation to this very day. “We are in this war not to win over invaders’ capital and assets; we are in this war to save our capital and assets from loss.” That is how we define, losing, and winning in a war. Rais Ali and his people won that war, as his disciples did the same thing almost a century later and will do it again if they have to.

Mr. President, Iran has never initiated any war. Iran has never seized others’ resources, belongings, means, lives, and existence to gain wealth and benefit of its own. Iran, only and of course, vigorously has and will defend its belonging, resources, life, and identity. Iran has done that throughout its four thousand years of history and will do it again if it has to. Rais Ali and his team did it in 1915. People in my generation did it in 1980-88. When the whole world stood behind Sadam Husain and helped him throughout the eight years of war, Iranians stood firmly and defended their home. 

Under the world’s watch, Sadam Husain dropped bombs and used chemical weapons on civilians. In the end, he was not able to seize even an inch of our homeland. Iranians became one body and stood and defended their home and their families. 

To this day, Iranian, despite their differences, they are all proud of the eight years defending their home. Not sure if you agree, but losing so many precious lives is a significant loss and the nation still mournes for the precious lives lost during those eight years. However, we stood firm in defending our home and family. The country is proud and satisfied with the result, Iran is still Iran without losing an inch of its terrain. 

Mr. President, that is the difference in Iran’s view of loss and win in a war. In our lexicon, the one who starts a war is the only loser. The one who plans to steal happiness, life, and the being of others’ is the real loser.  

War is not our business, but negotiation and diplomacy are. War is not our purpose. Peace is our mission. Peace is our philosophy in life, and you are right, diplomacy is our art. 

Iran has proved its mastery in the art of diplomacy.

Diplomacy and winning, forbearance and contentment are inclinations that cannot be achieved by billions of dollars of weapons. The United States allies in the region; Bin-Salman and Bibi Natanhayou both can testify to that. Their loss to Iran with billions of dollars in arms sales are the testimony to that. 

Just be aware Mr. President, your friends the B team, desperately are pushing you into the same dilemma they have been dealing with in the past decades. Finally, the only conclusion they got to was tiding the hands of the master of diplomacy Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Interestingly, they must have learned their lesson by now that they might be able to knot the hands of chess players, but they cannot control their mind and moves. A chess player with tied hands still can move the pawns and the knights. Last but not least, watch out not to play checkers with chess-players.
 

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