The head of Iran’s Quds Force, which is in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s operations outside of Iran’s borders, reportedly spoke yesterday about Syria at a meeting of the Assembly of Experts.
According to an assembly member who was present at the meeting, Major General Ghassem Soleimani said that “Some criticize why we support Syria so much. To them, we have to answer that we do not pay attention to the propaganda of the enemy, because Syria is the frontline of resistance and this reality is undeniable. We have a duty to defend Muslims because they are under pressure and oppression.”
On the US role in Syria, Soleimani believes that “America has tested various methods in toppling [President] Bashar [al-Assad]. Political pressure and bringing in al-Qaeda are among those, and the latest excuse is the use of chemical weapons, and in this case they will also not get results.”
On the latest developments in the region, Soleimani said, “Americans want democracy in Egypt, in Syria they want human rights, and in Iran they are worried about the nuclear discussion, but their original goal is to break the resistance front.” Iran considers itself, Hezbollah and Syria part of a resistance front against US and Israeli hegemony in the region.
“We will support Syria to the end,” Soleimani said. “And now the Syria case has become a matter of honor for America. Therefore, they struggle so much and seemingly, they want to come out of it successful.”
Soleimani continued, “In case of an attack on Syria, seven countries — Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, England, America and Israel — are at the front line and indeed believe in the downfall of Bashar Assad.” He added, “Now the leaders of the Zionist regime and some countries in the region oddly insist that Bashar should leave and even say that if al-Qaeda comes, it is better than Bashar.”
Soleimani said that “95% of those who fight in Syria are foreigners, and their leaders are in foreign countries, and the remaining 5% are army defectors who form the Free [Syrian] Army, and some of Syria’s Salafis are part of this 5%.” He added that al-Qaeda-affiliated groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra come from various countries and that “They do extremely brutal things, and some of it is so atrocious that it cannot be talked about, such that some of Assad’s opposition say that if there were an election they would vote for Assad — that Bashar is more democratic than them.”
On regional competition between Iran and some Arab countries and the money given to Libya after the downfall of Moammar Gadhafi by Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, Soleimani said, “Some countries in the Persian Gulf are pursuing an agenda of Iranphobia, and their main issue is this. Some countries in the region fear the influence of Iran in Islamic countries. With this aim, Qatar has spent $12 billion in Syria, but given this, Iran has a good position in Islamic countries.”
On Iran’s influence in Iraq and invading or Western countries, Soleimani said, “After the fall of Saddam [Hussein], there was talk by various individuals that they should manage Iraq, but with Iraq’s sources of emulation [Shia religious leaders] and Iran’s influence, America could not reach its goal.” After the invasion of Iraq, it is believed that Soleimani exerted considerable influence on various Iraqi politicians and Shia militias. Soleimani added, “Iraq’s Sunni scholars and clerics are killed by al-Qaeda to start a Shia-Sunni war.”