There are reports that the U.S. informed Iran in advance of the airstrikes on Syria. Is it true?
On the sidelines of the nuclear talks, in a general fashion, this topic was touched upon. And they had a general conversation about it, about the fact that the U.S. said they would intend to extend the range of the air bombardments in Iraq. Nothing precise, nothing that came a day or a few hours prior to the bombardment of Syria.
“If the air bombardment campaign is not within the framework of international law, it is to be condemned”
Do you think the airstrikes will have the intended effect?
Does the United States think that with a few bombardments that we’ll be able to destroy terrorism? And make them suffer damages? If that’s the general thought, then it’s incredibly simple thinking. This terrorism has been taking the lives of Syrians for the last three years. How is it that now the U.S. thinks of combatting them?
And do you approve of the joint air campaign in Syria?
If the air bombardment campaign is not within the framework of international law, it is to be condemned, and assuming that the objective is to combat terrorists in a nation, without coordination with the government of that country and at the request of that country, then such action, whatever the intent may be, can be considered an attack and an invasion. These are wrong actions. It is not clear for us what they are seeking, whether they’re under the pressure of their own domestic public opinions and want to put on a show or they’re after a tangible objective. I can tell you unequivocally, no terrorist group can be eradicated through aerial bombardments only.
Why do so many terrorists invoke the name of Islam in their recruitment?
Evil always uses the name of the righteous in order to reach its objectives. No one will ever say, “I am an oppressor. Be on my side.” In our region, Islam, the faith, is quite attractive for the youth. Some have managed to take advantage of this love. Unfortunately in our region, because of the hegemony of the world powers, the wars, a lot of the youth have lost their hope. This hopelessness is a path that makes them more readily available to go toward fake and empty slogans, think that would be their salvation. Some have always managed to take advantage of the righteous and the good.
Will Iran join the fight against Islamic State?
We know they are terrorists. Any country in whose territory a group of terrorists are active, if the government of that country formally requests assistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will certainly render that assistance. We will do so because terrorists endanger and threaten everyone.
Can an agreement in the nuclear negotiations be reached by the deadline in November?
If a serious will exists on both sides, then certainly this agreement is within reach. Iran is a signatory to the [nuclear nonproliferation treaty] and must be treated like all other countries. And if there are reasons for a lack of confidence, we are willing to erase those reasons. Conditions must be created for a win-win for both sides.
How painful have the U.S. sanctions been for Iranians?
When a country uses illegitimate tools and causes delays in receiving medication by those who are gravely ill, this causes hardship for those who suffer ailments. All of this in aggregate means that a nation, a people, have suffered. What is important is that our people did not surrender in the face of these sanctions. Fundamentally, we see sanctions as a wrong path to follow.