Javani responds to Leon Panetta on the question of Iraq

Brigadier-General Yadollah Javani , the head of the IRGC's political bureau

Brigadier-General Yadollah Javani , the head of the IRGC's political bureau

Source: Mehr News , Date: 02 September 2011

In an interview with Mehr News website Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) Political Bureau, responded to comments made on 19 August 2011 by the United States’ new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the role of the US in Iraq beyond the 31 December 2011 Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA) deadline and Iran’s alleged support for militias and terrorism there.

On the question of whether the US military should stay in Iraq beyond the SoFA deadline, Javani stated that the American presence was in fact the source of instability in that country:

“If the Americans are really in pursuit of establishing security in Iraq, they must vacate Iraq’s soil by the end of 2011 in accordance with the security agreement which they have signed with the Iraqi government [referring to SoFA].”

Javani then disputed Panetta’s claims from 10 July 2011 that Iran was a source of instability in Iraq:

“A safe and developing Iraq is in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interest, not an Iraq that is in crisis.”

He a particularly criticized what he viewed as US hypocrisy on the issue of Iran’s alleged links to militias and terrorism in Iraq:

“The recent claims of America’s new Secretary of Defense are old and worn out claims that in recent years have been repeated against our country in different forms.”

Javani went as far as to assert that Iran was on the forefront of the fight against terrorism:

“For years the Islamic Republic has brought to light its fight against terrorism and provided evidence to this effect but the international community has not paid any attention.”

He turned the accusation of sponsoring terrorism around and made the counterclaim that it is in fact the US which has sponsored terrorist organizations in Iran:

“…countries that claim to fight terrorism like America behind the curtains support groups such as the Monafeghin [People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)], Jundulshaytan [Jundullah] and PJAK [Party of Free Life of Kurdistan] in order to justify their illegitimate presence in the region’s countries’.”