“The main goal of Hamas has been liberating the Palestinian land since the beginning of the Gaza war, and that is why we support it,” Dr. Seyed Kamal Kharrazi, the President of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said:
He said: “Palestinians have the right to defend their cause, which is the liberation of Palestine. Iran’s position and solution to the Palestinian crisis is to establish a single state to include Muslims, Christians, and Jews who originally lived in this land. On this Basis, a referendum should be held on the future of Palestine. This is the only democratic solution that can bring peace to this land.
What follows is the full text of this interview:
Question: The topic of this interview is the situation in Gaza and Iran’s position towards it. From the beginning of this war, Iran announced that it was not informed about the attack by Hamas, and when the time passed, Iran announced that it would not be a party to the war unless Israel attacked Iran’s territory. In the meantime, many things have happened. We saw that Israel incurred heavy damage to Gaza, and many people were killed. What is Iran’s position now after weeks passing of this war?
Answer: We were not informed that Hamas had such a plan. We have always supported the resistance, and our policy towards the Palestinians has been to support them in defending their rights. Iran was not involved in this war, and even the reactions of the resistance forces in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq were based on their own decision. Therefore, Iran’s position has been that the war should not be expanded, but if the atrocities of the Zionist regime continued, there would be no obstacle to its expansion. Both the axis of resistance and the region’s countries would get involved. In this case, a large regional war would occur. That’s why we always insisted on establishing a ceasefire and put pressure on the US and other countries in the region, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation members, to establish a ceasefire. Otherwise, there was a possibility of the war spreading.
Question: Iran has supported the axis of resistance for many years and has demanded the elimination of Israel and the defense of Palestinian rights, as well as the withdrawal of the US from the region. This is the primary demand of the axis of resistance. But in Palestine, we see placards calling for an end to the war. Isn’t that strange? Iran wants war and always invites Palestinians to fight to defend their rights, but now it wants to stop it. If the Palestinians stop fighting, what will be their future?
Answer: Firstly, the rights of the Palestinians are the only thing we support because their rights have been violated. The Zionist regime has occupied their land. That’s why we fully support them. But the issue of spreading the war is an entirely different matter. Our policy has not been to expand this war, but we support the Palestinians in their war against the Zionist regime to fulfill their rights.
Question: Regarding the reaction of the resistance axis to this war, I must say that their reaction was completely calculated. Hezbollah has been active. So far, 108 Hezbollah members have died, and 40 civilians have been killed in southern Lebanon. The Houthis have also fired missiles from the south of Yemen, and Hashd al-Sha’bi has attacked the US positions in Iraq and Syria. These have been fully calculated. How can this situation get out of control? What is the red line?
Answer: What will happen after the agreed pause remains to be seen. I believe that the brutality of the Zionist regime will continue, and it will continue to kill civilians, including children, women, and the elderly in Gaza, and will destroy Gaza even more. In this case, a new situation will emerge. For this reason, Iran’s foreign minister has said that we are on the edge of the expansion of war, and it entirely depends on the US and the Zionists how far they want to go. There is this concern, and the future depends on the Zionist’s cruelty. The time has come for stopping the crimes of the Zionist regime and the war to be ended and to think about the future of the region. But if the war spreads, the situation will be completely different, so other countries will also be involved in this conflict. This will not be in the interest of the US or any country in the region.
They want to forcibly move the Palestinians of Gaza to Egypt or the Palestinians of the West Bank to Jordan. This action creates new conditions. Naturally, Egypt and Jordan will not agree with this. So, we must wait and see what happens after this pause.
Question: Netanyahu has said that Gaza will be free from Hamas. They want to destroy Hamas and change the status of Gaza so that international forces or Fatah take over its administration. What is Iran’s position regarding the future of Gaza?
Answer: It is only the Zionists’ wishful thinking, that would not be possible. We are sure that the Palestinians will not admit what others dictate, but will defend their rights. What matters is the results on the ground. So far, Hamas has proven that it is in complete control and has caused heavy damage to the Zionist regime in Gaza, including killing Israeli soldiers and destroying their armaments. They are entirely determined to fight and continue to resist against the Zionist regime. Netanyahu has indeed made such claims about the future of Gaza, but I am sure the future of Gaza will not be as he wishes. They cannot destroy Hamas or the Palestinians in any way. You saw how different countries reacted to this war in support of the Palestinians and against the brutality of the Zionists. Public opinion should be taken into consideration.
Question: We remember Iran’s foreign policy philosophy, as Mr. Zarif once said, that diplomacy and the field are together. Iran knows this well because I have read about it in numerous articles. When Hamas committed such an attack, it must have pursued a goal. What was the ultimate goal of such an attack? Because this attack has killed many Palestinians. A lot of damage has been done, and many people have suffered. There should be a big goal. What was the goal of Hamas? Or what is the purpose of the axis of resistance?
Answer: Hamas’s Purpose is liberating Palestine, and that is why we support them. The Zionist regime has occupied their land since 1948, 1967, or even after the Oslo agreement. They are right in defending their cause, which is the liberation of Palestine. Iran’s position and solution for the Palestinian crisis is to create a single state to include Muslims, Christians, and Jews who originally lived in this land. On this basis, a referendum should be held on the future of Palestine. This is the only democratic solution that can bring peace to this land; otherwise, any other solution will be impossible, and the war between Palestinians and Zionists will continue. Therefore, Palestinians have the right to defend themselves, and we have to support them.
Question: I always believed that Iranians are pragmatic in foreign policy. The two-state solution is now being re-introduced, and everyone is discussing it as an option, which is generally tricky…
Answer: Impossible. The Zionists themselves do not believe in that, either.
Question: That’s precisely my point. If this is impossible, the one-state solution seems more impossible. How could there be a solution?
Answer: It is the resistance that will determine the result. No one thought that the apartheid regime in South Africa would one day be overthrown, but it happened, and the same applies to Palestine. If the resistance continues, there will be no other option than a democratic solution, i.e., creating a single state.
Question: But my opinion is different. We will witness more decades of violence in the region because the resistance is getting stronger every day. For example, in 2006, Hezbollah was not as powerful in southern Lebanon as it is today. But at the same time, hatred in Israel will also increase, and its government will become more militarized.
Answer: Yes, But the Palestinians are ready for it. When you watch TV, you see how Palestinians in the West Bank support Hamas. This shows that the Palestinians are prepared to continue to resist, despite all the losses. If they are ready, why should we stop them? It is their right and they have the will to resist. For 75 years, the Zionists have been brutalizing the Palestinians. A group of Jews from Europe and other countries were taken to this land to occupy Palestine. During these years, extreme brutality has been applied against the Palestinians, and the Palestinians have only been defending their rights. As long as they are ready to defend themselves, there is no need to worry.
Question: Some say it is easy for a country like Iran to take such a position. Iran has not recognized Israel since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, and Israel has been its enemy. Iran has supported Hamas and other resistance groups. This situation will be more worrying for the future. Of course, the situation will be good for Iran. What is your response to critics?
Answer: It was not Iran that pressured the Palestinians to defend their rights. It was their own will to continue resisting and defending their rights. Iran has only helped and supported them. It has been the initiative of the Palestinians, not Iran’s. Iran has only been a supporter.
Question: Let me mention another issue. Different countries participated in Riyadh with different positions. What is the status of Iran’s relations with other countries in the Middle East, especially with Saudi Arabia or with the UAE, which is normalizing its relations with Israel?
Answer: Our relations with them are improving because, after years of differences, these countries have understood that Iran is a regional power and that there is no other way, but to normalize relations with Iran. The countries in the region have reached such a political maturity that it would be in their interest to improve their relations with Iran, to stabilize the region. We have supported this approach and improved our relations with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and others. Even in the case of Egypt, we have announced that we are ready to improve our relations. All this shows that after a long time of differences between the Arab countries and Iran, it is time to normalize relations.
Question: What does Iran expect from the regional countries regarding Palestine?
Answer: To support them. This is why we asked for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit, and what other countries also supported it. The meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was held in Riyadh to declare the support of all Islamic and Arab countries to the Palestinians.
Question: But their positions were different, especially regarding what should be done in the future.
Answer: Naturally, there are different opinions, but also common positions. One of them is that Palestine should be supported, and the Zionist regime should be condemned for its brutal behaviors against civilians.
Question: Were the differences also related to the future of Fatah in Gaza and the political future of Palestine?
Answer: As long as Fatah supports the resistance, we will not fail to support the Palestinians. I believe that the main issue would be resistance against the occupiers. There are various outlooks in Palestine, including between Fatah and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others. But as long as they support the resistance against the occupiers, naturally, we will support them.
Question: Let me return to Hamas. During the Syrian war, Hamas fought against Bashar al-Assad and the Assad government.
Answer: No. Hamas did not fight against Bashar al-Assad. They just moved their office out of Syria.
Question: But They said their positions are different from the Syrian government…
Answer: Yes, they said that, but later, they realized they were wrong and returned to Syria. It was the plan of the Americans and some Arab countries in the region to create differences between Hamas fighters and Bashar al-Assad’s government. But it failed, and now Syria is in place, and Bashar al-Assad is in power. Therefore, Hamas has returned to Syria because it needs Syria’s support.
Question: Does Iran have the same trust in Hamas as in Hezbollah? Hamas is entirely different from Hezbollah. They share the common goal of destroying Israel, but Hamas is Sunni, and the majority of the resistance axis is Shiite. Do you have the same trust in Hamas?
Answer: Each of these resistance axis members has their policies, ideas, and goals. As long as they are members of the resistance axis, they can count on our support. There is a difference of opinion between Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, or Hashd al-Sha’bi, and this is natural. Its roots go back to the geographical conditions, ideology, needs, and goals of each one. But as long as they are part of the axis of resistance and anti-occupation, we are ready to support them. You mentioned that Hamas is Sunni. This proves that the Shiite Crescent claimed sometime in the region, has not been true. Now, Iran not only supports Shia fighters but also supports Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are not Shia. The issue is not about being Shia or Sunni, but defending the legitimate right. All those who resist the occupiers in any country, whether Shia, Sunni, Christian, or any other religion, are supported by us.
Question: Let me refer to Iran’s domestic issues. During the years of demonstrations, we heard people chant the slogan, “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life sacrificed for Iran.” However, due to economic issues, these slogans have been heard. But in recent demonstrations, we have seen that the participants are mainly supporters of the government. We do not witness the presence of all sections of the society. When we visit social media, we even see Iranians who support Israel. This is a reality in this country. Why has the Islamic Republic not been able to gather all the society around one goal, which is to support the Palestinians?
Answer: The majority of Iranian people from every spectrum support Iran’s policy against the Zionist regime. If there are opinions against this, it signals the democracy in Iran that they can express their opinion. The majority of Iranians support Palestine, as the millions of Iranians who participated in the recent demonstrations in support of Hamas. At the same time, even those who have different views, are still against the brutality of the Zionist regime that kills civilians, children, and women. No one in Iran supports the Zionist regime in killing civilians. Therefore, although some may have a different opinion, they are not the majority. Most Iranian people have supported the policy by attending the demonstrations.
Question: I’m afraid I have to disagree. I have been in Iran for many years and have participated in various demonstrations. I have also participated in the Quds Day demonstration. In the first years I was here, it was an exciting day for me because many Iranians could be seen supporting Palestine in this event. I don’t see anything like that these days. I honestly ask, why has it happened?
Answer: Political changes are natural. If you compare these days with the beginning of the revolution, naturally there have been changes. But this should not be confused with the support of the majority of the country’s policies against the Zionist regime. Your conclusion is not correct. When you see millions of Iranians coming to the streets on Quds Day, it shows that the majority of people support Iran’s policy against the occupation.
Question: I also have a question about the nuclear issue. The International Atomic Energy Agency has announced that Iran has increased its enrichment by 60%. My question is, what is going to happen? How will Iran reverse this process?
Answer: We signed the JCPOA and were fully committed to it. When the US left it, it was natural for us to reduce the implementation of our commitments. That is why these things happened. If the US returns to JCPOA and Europe fulfills its commitments, we will naturally return to our commitments. Therefore, what has happened in these years has been caused by the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA. They not only withdrew from JCPOA but also imposed more sanctions against Iran. Therefore, the other side must answer why such a situation has been created. We are ready to return to the JCPOA if the US and Europe return to their commitments.
Question: Experts say that a country that does not want to build a nuclear bomb does not need 60% enrichment. Because when you have 60%, you can easily make bombs.
Answer: It is not necessarily so. 60% enrichment can have many other uses. There is nothing wrong with enrichment. Our policy is not to go towards nuclear weapons, although we have such a capability. We have made such a decision because developing nuclear weapons would be against the Fatwa of the supreme leader of the revolution. Therefore, this question should be asked of Americans and Europeans: Why did they not commit to their signature and change their policy? If we have increased the level of enrichment, it was a reaction to their actions. If they return, we will return. However, the US does not have such a decision, and the Europeans continue to impose sanctions on Iran, including on the issue of the missile embargo; even though Iran was removed from the Security Council sanctions in October, they have the continuation of such an embargo on their agenda. Therefore, we are ready to negotiate, if they return to the negotiating table.
Question: But a new agreement must be created. Because that agreement is related to 2015 and cannot be revived today.
Answer: Why can’t it be revived? This agreement is signed and should not be subjected to other issues. This agreement has been signed and must be enforced as it is.
Question: I have another question regarding this agreement. What will the region face if Donald Trump becomes the American president again?
Answer: Catastrophic. It will be a catastrophe not only for the region but also for the United States. If you compare the politics and prestige of today’s America with the past, for example, the era of Jefferson and Washington, you will find what has happened to America. It will be very ridiculous if Trump becomes president again. Such a situation will be disastrous not only for the region but also for America.
Question: But what will be the situation in Palestine if Trump returns to power?
Answer: The resistance will continue.
Question: If the Americans leave the region, will the resistance have a reason to continue on its path?
Answer: This would be good news. The countries in the region are mature enough to run their own countries and cooperate more fully with each other. The main problem is foreign interference in the region; if this happens, peace and a more stable situation will prevail.
Question: But what will happen to the resistance?
Answer: The resistance will continue because the Zionists are the main source of problems in the region. It is the right of Palestinians to defend their rights.
Here, I would like to thank the people of Latin America for participating in anti-Zionist demonstrations supporting the Palestinians and condemning the killings of civilians, including children, women, and the elderly. Their reactions should be appreciated. There is a long distance between Latin America and Palestine, but it proves that they support humanitarian issues.