Press TV has conducted an interview with Mohammad Marandi, professor at University of Tehran looking at the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and Iran-US relations today.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Some of the issues raised by Mr. Korb (Lawrence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense – Press TV guest) saying that the public participation in these rallies; that the Obama administration has been working with Iran, has been talking with Iran.
But we’re also hearing the sentence that all options are still on the table; we know that a huge part of the sanctions still remain; and there is not complete optimism when it comes to the (Iran) deal because there has been concerns about the sanctions increasing and the level of sanctions not being reduced. What do you think?
Marandi: Well, a couple of things: one is that the elections four years ago are undisputed – there is no doubt about that now. And the two former candidates Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi that your guest is alluding to are still under house arrest and they are there basically because they misled many of their supporters who carried out riots in Tehran and unfortunately people were killed and damage was done. So, they do bear responsibility for that and the government has not released them.
Beyond that though I think we have to keep in mind that President Rouhani has since the first day of being in office he has shown a strong willingness to resolve the nuclear program and to create a more favorable atmosphere with the United States and its allies.
It’s not the UN or other members of the Security Council that are the problem for Iran; it is basically the United States and its allies.
President Obama when he came to power he made some noise that sounded positive. But when we look at the WikiLeaks documents that were released later, it was clear that the US government even from the very beginning of the Obama administration was seeking to increase the sanctions against Iran to put pressure on the Iranian people in order to create instability in the country.
I think that shows that there was a level of hypocrisy even from the beginning.
Even now that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 have signed or come to this agreement over the nuclear program and to resolve the issues that exist between Iran and the United States largely – because Russia and China do not have a problem with Iran’s nuclear program as they’ve stated.
The point is that right now the United States continues to add new people to the sanctions list and new companies – and that goes against the agreement altogether because it shows that the sanctions are being increased by the United States when today you have a person who is within the sanctions regime and he wasn’t yesterday that shows that they have breached this trust.
Press TV: Looking at the 35 years since the victory of the Islamic revolution, Iran has almost all of the time been facing Western pressure and sanctions. A lot of people are asking what the objective of these sanctions is and have sanctions been effective?
When it comes to the reasons for these sanctions the Obama administration has said frequently that it was the sanctions that led Iran to the negotiating table.
Marandi: First of all President Ahmadinejad was never the prime minister of Mr. Rafsanjani. President Rafsanjani was the President before President Khatami and then after President Khatami we had President Ahmadinejad. So they have nothing to do with one another.
The sanctions have been leveled against ordinary Iranians. And again if you look at WikiLeaks documents – and I would advise your audience to do so, they are very interesting – the objective from the very start was to make ordinary people suffer. That has been stated explicitly by American officials time after time.
Even in the public sphere it has been said in a more implicit way. So, the objective has been to make ordinary people suffer.
The current sanctions, which are American sanctions – it has nothing to do with the UN Security Council or anyone else – the Americans are threatening third countries from doing trade with the Iranian Central Bank or with the Iranian banks.
And so the Americans are basically threatening countries like Japan, Korea, South Africa, China and everyone that does trade with Iran that they have to abide by America’s rules not international law.
But I think that one of the most extraordinary points is regardless of the fact that the sanctions have killed ordinary Iranians – people have died of the lack of medicine over the last couple of years when we had a crisis of medicine and the United States is obviously responsible just as it was responsible for the downing of the Iranian airliner and Iran Iraq war – it was responsible for the chemical weapons along with European countries, which Saddam Hussein used.
But the United States’ president when he constantly speaks about all option on the table he is breaking international law. The UN does not allow – the UN Charter itself – does not allow the threat of force against any country.
So any time Obama threatens ordinary Iranians with bloodshed, with bombardment, he is breaking international law and he is attempting to terrorize ordinary Iranians. And I think that is a sign of an uncivilized political order.
Press TV: Our guest is saying that because countries he mentioned and Israel haven’t signed the NPT that this is not a double standard and he also said that the sanctions imposed by the US are based on international law. Your response.
Marandi: There were a number of issues that were raised and one is that the US sanctions have nothing to do with international law, they are completely against international law, but the United States behaves like a rogue state and therefore thinks it is beyond the law.
Such as US support for Israel, which is an apartheid regime; even the former US President Jimmy Carter has effectively said that Israel is an apartheid regime. We all know that Israel is a racist state, but the United States supports racism in this part of the world just as it’s been supporting al-Qaeda in Syria for the last three years and now suddenly it’s backing off.
So, the United States is used to using double standards in its policy both at home and abroad.
With regards to Iran, any support that the Iranian government gives to the public have nothing to do with the funds that were released. This is a policy of President Rouhani and it is a policy that existed before President Rouhani and it will continue. The money that has been released is Iranian money that the United States is unlawfully holding.
Also, President Rouhani has not come to the negotiating table because of sanctions. The sanctions have existed before and the Iranians were at the negotiating table before. We’ve had a series of negotiations with the P5+1 and the United States.
And it has nothing to do with any rhetoric of President Ahmadinejad. President Ahmadinejad never threatened any country. I think your guest should take a careful look at the mistranslations – the wilful mistranslations in the Western media.
But again I think the important thing to keep in mind is that these sanctions are illegal; they are directed at ordinary Iranians; they are intended to make Iranians suffer.
And the Americans have a history of this sort of behavior – the United States helped Saddam Hussein use chemical weapons against the Iranian people; the United States tried to mislead the international community into thinking, according to an op-ed in the New York Times, that Iran actually carried out the chemical attacks.
So, when the United States is implicated in crimes against humanity during the Iran Iraq war you can’t expect it to behave in any other way today.