Democracy Cannot Be Brought Through Military Attacks

September 9, 2002 - 0:0
TEHRAN -- It is not possible to bring about democracy to a country through military attacks, Iran's permanent representative to the United Nations Mohammad-Javad Zarif said in response to a question on Iran's stance on the U.S. probable attack on Iraq.

The U.S. attacks may destabilize the region and be ensued by many threats, he said.

Speaking in an interview on the American Public Broadcasting (PBS), Zarif added, even if the attacks culminate in the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq, they will set a very bad precedent. In the future any country may resort to war under the pretext of democracy.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, Iran is a neighbor of Iraq and cannot accept the possible dangers and consequences of such attacks, he said.

The attacks will have short- and long-term effects for Iran. Not only a wave of refugees will pour into Iran, but such attacks may revive radicalism in the region.

At a time when the European Union, the Arab League and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as the countries that are threatened by Iraq are opposed to attacks on Baghdad, Washington must bear in mind that such attacks may have dire consequences, Zarif said.

On the probable threats a democratic Iraq might pose to Iran, he said, Iran is experiencing a democratic system based on its own specific values and is not at all worried about such a possibility.

On Iran's attitude toward Al-Qaeda, he said, the vicious nature of Al-Qaeda was clear to Iran even before the September 11 attacks.

While the United States came to list Al-Qaeda among its enemies only after the September 11 events, the group was looked as an enemy by Iran from its very inception, Zarif added.

Iran is not like the United States, defending and supporting Saddam and Taleban one day, and attacking them another day.

On the alleged support of Iran for some Al-Qaeda members, he said Iran has long borders with Afghanistan and it is difficult to guard such extensive borders. Some of them might have crossed over into Iran.

Zarif noted, in line with its national security, Iran has tried to arrest them and extradite them to such countries as Belgium and France, as well as Arab countries.

The U.S. officials have accepted that the Al-Qaeda members are still active in the United States, he said, adding, how is it that they accuse Iran of accommodating them? All the hijackers were residents of the United States before the September 11 attacks, had bank accounts and carried out their activities, he said, adding, why did the U.S. not stop them? On the Middle East peace, he said, so long as the fundamental rights of the Palestinians are violated and their lands are occupied, we should not expect the Middle East problem as settled.

An independent government must be established and the people themselves must determine the type of their government, he added.

On the suicide attacks, he said the cause and effect must be studied together. It is the occupation of the Palestinian territories that has created all these problems.