Interview with the Iranian ambassador to Denmark on the threat of western military attack on Syrian

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H.E. Hamid Bayat, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran was interviewed by Tom Gillesberg, the chairman of The Schiller Institute in Denmark, on August 30, 2013, about the imminent danger of western military attack against Syria.


mp3 (a little more than an hour)





The hour-long interview (including translation from Farsi to English) began with Tom Gillesberg presenting the main point of Lyndon LaRouche's statement against western military attack, and asked for the ambassador's evaluation. Ambassador Bayat explained why any western military intervention against Syria would increase the instability in the region and exposed the hypocracy of the American threats. There was also discussion of the Blair role, the threats against Iran, and proposals for de-escallating the tensions.


LaRouche: "No Military Action In Syria; Thermonuclear Danger Too Grave"


Transcript of the interview:


Interview with H.E. Ambassador Hamid Bayat from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Denmark, against western military action in Syria, August 30, 2013

Interviewed by Tom Gillesberg, chairman of The Schiller Institute in Denmark.

H.E. Ambassador Hamid Bayat spoke in Farsi. The following is a transcript of the verbal translation of the ambassador’s answers. The interview has been slightly edited.  The video and audio files may be found at:

Tom Gillesberg: Today is August 30, 2013. I am Tom Gillesberg from the Danish Schiller Institute. Today, I am very honored to be speaking to His Excellency Mr. Hamid Bayat, the Iranian ambassador to Denmark, on the very dramatic historical events we are sitting right in the middle of right now. We have seen a massive media campaign, over the last couple of weeks, basically designed to say ‘Right now, in the situation in Syria, the ongoing war, we now have a totally changed situation. We have chemical warfare being introduced,’ as being said by the media, ‘by the regime, therefore, we have to have military action now. Don’t think – act.’ 
And, of course, may people in their minds, think back to the events of the Iraq war, where, in the same manner, suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, British intelligence reports said, ‘We are in a situation now, where weapons of mass destruction can be introduced at any moment, and, therefore, we have to act.’
Now, the American statesman Lyndon LaRouche came out with a statement yesterday, as a leading U.S. opposition figure to the Bush policy that was carried out for eight years, and now to the Obama policy, the Obama war policy, saying, ‘No military action, no matter how small. The danger of thermonuclear war is too grave.’ And in this statement, he basically said that even a limited military action, from the U.S. side, into Syria, would dramatically increase the likelihood of a larger war, which, at some point, nobody knows how quickly, could lead to a major war, and the use of nuclear weapons, with all that implies.
And that this policy of war, is the policy of the British crown, where they are responding to the global financial crisis, and financial crash, with a global war policy, and where, even the British royal house has been very emphatically stating that they think the world population should be reduced dramatically, from the present seven billion, to even less than one.
And Mr. LaRouche says in his statement that Barack Obama, the American president, is a tool of this grouping in Britain, which also includes Wall Street in the U.S., and the present situation has to been seen as part of an ongoing buildup that has been taking place in the U.S. against Russia, against China, and for the possibility of a thermonuclear war in the Pacific theater. And, therefore, you really have to be aware that any military action, he says, could get out of control, sooner than you think. 
Now, of course, since he made that statement, yesterday, there were dramatic political events taking place in Great Britain, where the British parliament defied British Prime Minister Cameron, and voted “No,” voted down giving Prime Minister Cameron the possibility of taking military action.
So, it seems like this threat of immediate military action might have been delayed, at least for the weekend, at least into next week, and, it also shows that nothing is yet settled. Anything can come out of this, and therefore, this is something that the world has to act on, and has to act on now, to see how this should end up. 
So, what is your evaluation of the present situation, as it stands right now? What would be the consequence, as you see it, of a military attack from the U.S. side, with, or without, other allies taking part of it?

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: First of all, I would like to thank the Schiller Institute for the opportunity for this interview. I would also like to state the position of my country on the matter, and then, give an analysis of the latest situation, particularly in regards to Syria. Right from the start of the events in Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran has insisted on a political solution to the crisis in Syria, and we have taken all steps, all efforts towards fulfilling this end, and we have supported any action, within the framework of a political solution, including the U.N. representatives Kofi Annan, and then Lakhdar Brahimi. We supported both of these missions. And we have also supported any international gatherings on the issue, to find a solution, and we have announced that we would be ready to participate.
Within this framework, we announced our support for the outcome of the Geneva I conference, and we announced that we would be ready to take part in Geneva II. But some countries, of course, tried to prevent Iran from taking part, and they, of course, prevented Iran from taking part in Geneva I, and they have also tried to beat on the same drum for Geneva II as well. We have emphasized all along, that the Syrian crisis has no military solution.
Regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran utterly condemns any use of chemical weapons, whoever the perpetrator, we condemn it, whoever that might be. This is because we speak from experience. Iran has been a victim of chemical bombs, and we have more experience than the rest of the world, about the sufferings that this can inflict on ordinary people. 
Regarding the media propaganda that started a week ago, to actually lay the foundation for an attack on Syria, I would like to state as follows: The U.N. inspectors were on the ground in Syria, and that there was talk of a military attack, even before they have concluded their work in there. This is questionable to us. 
The next question that the international community needs to have an answer for, is that while there are international frameworks for dealing with problems like this, the U.N., and so on, there are countries that want to rely on their military power, to do whatever they want to do based on their own policies, and they want to say that just because we have the military power, we are the judge, we decide what military action is to be taken, and we have the power to take that action. 
There are two issues here. It is now about 60 years after the formation of the U.N. and the Security Council. The world community will not allow the legitimacy of the U.N. to be undermined by unilateral actions, by whomever. Just last week, American’s own intelligence revealed that America had given support to Saddam Hussein in his chemical attacks against Iran. Now, how can the U.S. be an honest broker in this, and how can the U.S., which itself has supported the use of chemical weapons in the past, be the judge now to decide, and act unilaterally against, and to be the world police in this, regarding issues of chemical attacks? In the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein attacked mainly Sardasht in Iran, and Halabja, on the border with Iraq, now, where was America then? Where was the American role then in defending victims of chemical attacks? It was quite clear at that time, that Saddam Hussein had been resorting to the use of chemical weapons all along.
Right now, there are ambiguities about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Every side is making their own claims. But the important point is this – any action that has the consent of the international community, must be supported, and has to have legal permission from the world community. Particularly in the last two decades, there has been the experience that countries have taken action in the name of support for the people, whereas, the actual intention behind those actions, has not been as stated. 
What we have been hearing about in the last few days, from the American quarter, and from the British side, about the events in Syria, and preparing the public for action, are reminiscent of exactly what went on before the invasion of Iraq. Before they invaded Iraq, they were adamant that they had absolutely no doubt that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. After so many years, the truth came out, and then they had to apologize, and of course, they came under heavy criticism, even from their own allies. 
This experience has brought about the situation where a part of the world community is not supportive of the war drumbeat that is now, currently going on. Many European countries have opposed any unilateral actions outside the framework of the U.N. umbrella, and, as you mentioned, just last night, the British parliament, taking lessons from Iraq, voted down the request from the British government to take unilateral action in Syria.

Tom Gillesberg: Which hadn’t happened for, I think, many, many decades, that a British parliament has gone against such a government policy. 

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: Exactly. So any unilateral action, just based on the fact that one is powerful, and one is determined to do it, is not acceptable to the world community. So, as I said, the world community does not accept that countries like America take unilateral actions just because they have the military might. 
Let’s now look into another aspect of the issue. What would be the goal of any military action, and what would be the repercussions, what would be the consequences?
Now, what has happened in Syria? Following events in the countries of the Middle East, where people were demanding reforms, a part of the Syrian community, were also demanding changes in their country. This perception came into being, that the same solution can be applied to different countries, disregarding the fact that every single one of these countries has their own characteristics, and they all require different solutions. So, we can never say that the situation in Tunisia is the same as in Libya, or the situation in Libya is the same as in Egypt, or Egypt is the same as Syria. You can’t do that. And the developments that have taken place, actually prove this point. This would be to say that with one prescription, a doctor could cure all different kinds of patients. It’s impossible. 
In the case of Syria, without allowing for any possibility for change to be implemented, immediately, the field went towards a military confrontation. Unfortunately, some countries in the region, some countries outside the region, they interfered by sending money, by sending weapons, and in recent months, by allowing people who are their nationals to travel to the region, to join groups in their fighting, and this has brought about the current situation. 

Tom Gillesberg: You are, of course, referring to the fact that everybody knows that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been spending huge amounts of money in supporting the opposition, and sending weapons.

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: I don’t want to name them, but unfortunately, it is the case that many countries have interfered, and what happened in Syria was that the situation turned into a destructive civil war. After the uprising, they immediately came up with this notion that within months, or so, Bashir al-Assad government would collapse. But the army, and the majority of the Syrian people, remained steadfastly behind Bashar Al-Assad. And on the other side, different groups, including Al-Qaida, other terrorist groups entered Syria and the presence of these people has actually made the crisis in Syria very, very, complicated. 
In this situation, the most logical thing would be a political solution, where all different groups, all different parties can attend, and they can hammer out a solution to end this very, very, destructive civil war. We have had discussions with a lot of countries on this, even some of the opposition. Some opposition groups accept that they have to negotiate with the Syrian government. But, unfortunately, pressure is brought to bear, even on those groups, to actually opt out of that, and to prefer the military solution. It has been proven that the continuation of the current status cannot lead to any solution.
And then the question arises: Will foreign military intervention, can military intervention from abroad, lead to an end of the situation? To answer this we need to point out two factors: 
One is, past experience. And the second is, clear knowledge about the situation in Syria, and the region. Regarding previous experience – the latest is Libya. Has Libya gone towards stability? We have to ask the Libyan people.
Now, coming to the situation in the Middle East region, the situation, particularly in Syria, is very complex and very dangerous. Unfortunately, history shows that for many, many, years, this region has been very unstable.
One of the main concerns that we, and those who are interested in the stability in the region, have, is the growth of terrorism, and the growth of terrorist groups in the region.
And then, the second worrying thing is the foundation laid for clashes between ethnic and religious groups – the conflict between the Shias and the Sunnis, between the Christians and the Muslims, and all that, and this is a very, very, dangerous thing. And this will definitely not be limited to the borders of Syria. Because of the interconnections between the region as a whole, from one country to the next, be it religion, or ethnicity, this could immediately spread the violence to other countries.

Tom Gillesberg: But it already has, in Lebanon, in Jordan, Turkey, even Turkey.

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: Exactly, Lebanon, the south of Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. 
So, if there is any kind of foreign military intervention, it cannot guarantee any stability in the region – on the contrary, it would only contribute to more instability, insecurity, and also clashes between various factions there.
Those countries which have the interest of security and stability of the region and the world in mind, will definitely not support any military action in Syria. Only the extremists, only the warmongers, who actually see their existence in instability, only those people will support such action.
We therefore believe, that the U.S., and the president of the U.S., are now falling into a trap, and this trap has been laid by the extremists, by the warmongers, and so on. 

Tom Gillesberg: Tony Blair. We see the same grouping that was behind the original Iraq war. Many people say, ‘But that was the U.S. war.’ But it was actually Britain which paved the way, which rolled out the … 

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: Red carpet.

Tom Gillesberg: … the red carpet and said, ‘Please come, please come.’ Or we even saw it also with Iraq. We saw how there was this game of saying to Iraq at the time, ‘Why don’t you go in and settle your differences with Kuwait? We won’t do anything. We’ll be passive,’ and then people get lured into a war which they cannot really win.
And, for the U.S., and the situation in Iraq, of course, it was the famous dossier that suddenly popped up, that Tony Blair presented, saying, ‘If we do not act now, then Iraq will have weapons of mass destruction,’ which, of course, was a total lie, a blatant lie. And, of course, we’re seeing the same game again. You said that Obama and the Americans are being lured in because -- we know from our work in the U.S., that one of the reasons why what has been attempted now, had not worked earlier, is that the U.S. military has been very staunchly against military action. They have pointed to the fact that they had a disastrous war in Iraq, a disastrous war in Afghanistan, with nothing achieved. Everybody knows what a disaster Libya is. And, therefore, to go into another war, where you do not have an idea of what the outcome should be, you don’t have an idea of what the solutions should be, would be utter madness. But, again the trap has been set, as you said, to get the U.S. to do that once again.

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: So, it’s precisely for this reason, that officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran have warned against any military intervention there, and we have been adamant, that if anybody has the interest of the Syrian people at heart, if anybody wants to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people, then they have to do their utmost to try and contribute to a political solution to the crisis. To find a political solution for the Syrian crisis is not a difficult matter.
Instead of encouraging the extremists, the terrorist groups, the various factions in Syria, and supplying them with things to go on fighting, instead, all efforts should be made to persuade them to come to the negotiating table. Based on that, we presented a plan, a very democratic plan, to put an end to the misery that the Syrian people are going through. 
I think we have to allow the Syrian people to decide their own future, and others should not be allowed to decide for the people of Syria. Not the neighboring countries, not the people outside the region.
Unfortunately, we see that even when the talk of a political solution comes up, then the different countries are all jockeying for position, to have their own version of the story.
As I said, we are seriously requesting an end to the crisis in Syria, and the return of stability and peace to the region. We have done all we could, and we will continue to do what we can to this end. And we believe that this violence that is going on cannot bring about stability and peace for anybody. The only way to bring about peace and stability and security, is cooperation between nations of the international community. Iran, as the most stable country in the region, has announced all along, that we would help, and we would do all we can, to help bring about peace and stability to the region.

Tom Gillesberg: For instance, here in Denmark, even while the British parliament turned down the Prime Minister’s request to keep open the possibility of military intervention into Syria with British involvement, in Denmark it’s actually the case, that the leading parties are holding onto the idea of saying, ‘We cannot say no to the idea of not acting outside of the U.N. with military action, if there will be no satisfactory proposal from the U.N.’ Now, I think that a lot of the people who are doing this, are doing this from a standpoint of simply not understanding the fire they’re playing with. They’re pretending it’s like a free lunch. It’s like we play a game. ‘Oh, we’ll throw a few bombs, and then we’ll see how it turns out.’ And one of the things that we have been trying to do, and Mr. LaRouche has been trying to do, is to get people really to think this through, and a lot of people who have been involved in wars know this -- it’s easy to start a war. It’s much, much, more difficult to end it.
I think it is important to have a picture of what would actually happen if you do this. I mean what would be the consequences? Is this something you can just do, and then after a couple of days of bombing you say, ‘Now we’re tired of bombing, now we’ll stop, and that was that.’? Or, do you think if such military action is taken, like Mr. LaRouche is saying, then it will have certain repercussions. This will actually unleash something you cannot simply put back into the bottle. 
And do you have any idea, also from your knowledge of the whole region, of telling these people why this is such a terrible idea, not just in general terms, but also what kind of thing could come out of it?

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: I would like to first point out, that fortunately, the people who are actually on a war footing are in a the minority.
I have to say that the position taken -- it is good to hear that the prime minister, the minister of foreign affairs here, and the foreign policy committee, have said that we have to wait and see the outcome of the U.N. inspectors team.  
As you said, the U.S., with a couple of others, might decide when to start a war, but they cannot decide when that war will end. As I said, any conflict, any military confrontation in that region, will not be limited to Syria alone. It can lead to further growth in extremism, further growth in terrorism. It can lead to more ethnic confrontation, and it can lead to more destruction of the infrastructure of the country of Syria. As I’ve said, the experience from Iraq and Afghanistan shows us that this outcome is likely to happen. 
But the question now is, having gone through that experience, why is America now bringing itself back to that same starting point again? 

Tom Gillesberg: It is very clear that there is a big fight in the U.S. on this. There is the faction which is allied with this Empire faction, with Tony Blair, with the Queen, for all that we know, and as you say, with this faction on a war footing. 
Mr. LaRouche’s analysis has been that this also has to be seen together with the fact that the trans-Atlantic financial system is in a huge crisis right now. That the events of 2007-2008, which were temporarily solved by a massive pumping in of liquidity into the financial markets, didn’t solve anything, but basically sustained and further built up the financial bubble, and, as we sit here right now, Mr. LaRouche came out with an analysis a few weeks ago, saying, this is ready to pop this year. This gives the added feature, that as the financial system is coming down, the circles which have been relying on that financial system for their power, in the City of London, in Wall Street, are exactly the circles who are against nation states, who, like Tony Blair says, ‘We should use Responsibility to Protect in order to undermine the principle of sovereign nations.’ They are seeing their power over the world, through the financial system, about to disappear, and therefore, they say, ‘Let’s have war. Let’s unleash this, and then somehow pick up the pieces.’ So ironically, Mr. LaRouche has been saying in the U.S., as part of a war prevention policy, you should stop any kind of military action. 
But at the same time, if the U.S. Congress would adopt Glass-Steagall banking separation, and basically go against Wall Street, let them collapse, and change the economic policy internally in the U.S., that would also set the stage for, not just for changing one policy, but having what Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche has been calling internationally, a paradigm shift. That is, where you not only change one policy, but you change the whole basis of a policy, and, instead of having a continuous policy of saying, ‘We need a confrontation, like from the U.S. with Syria, with Iran, with Russia, with China,’ instead saying, ‘No, there’s a natural interest of the U.S. to collaborate with Russia, with China, with Iran, with other nations, on global projects, on economic rebuilding.’ That is to say, to take the financial crisis, and instead of letting it be used as an excuse for war, let it be the starting point for massive collaboration and economic development.

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: One thing has to be borne in mind, that when countries like U.S., and some of its allies, talk about the reasons behind the actions that they take, it is not always what they state it to be. There are always hidden agendas. For example, one is, actions about supporting democracy. 
You know, America is continually talking about democracy for the people of Tunisia, or Egypt, but for thirty-odd years, the dictators Ben Ali, Mubarak, were ruling those countries, and they were American allies, and there was no talk of democracy, or the rights of the people under those regimes. This is a fact. And the developments in Egypt -- I don’t want to enter into that. That is a totally different chapter. The Americans tried very hard to prevent power going to the Islamists. 

Tom Gillesberg: Except for now, when the U.S. has been supporting the introduction of an Islamic government in Egypt, which has now been rejected by the population, very largely, or in Libya, where the U.S. supported the introduction of these fundamentalists. So you can say, what we have been seeing as a policy from the U.S., and some would say an insane, anti-American policy, is the U.S. putting exactly these people into power, who are totally opposed to the principles the U.S., itself, was founded on, including those so-called rebels in Syria right now -- al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, all of these groups, that are totally opposed to the idea of democracy, to the idea of equality – you name it. 

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: From an American perspective, some day you have good terrorists, and some day you have bad terrorists. If they are fighting along us, and our allies, and in our interests, then they are good, but if they are fighting in places where people stand for their rights, then they are bad, and they are terrorists.

Tom Gillesberg: And then, of course, there is the story that we have been trying to document over the years, that all of these terrorists, like the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, when they stop being used in Afghanistan, a lot of then went to Great Britain, to London, where they were safe-housed, where they continued to act, and then they turned up in many other countries as terrorists, now trying to overthrow governments, and, to the present day, it’s the same very much British-controlled network, but you can also say that it is funded by Saudi Arabia. This whole network was there all the time, and at that time, and still to the present time, very much controlled by the game masters in the British Empire, playing one against the other, divide and rule, divide and conquer, these old empire policies that were present in former empires, and then came to the British empire, and are still being applied. 

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: Just to confirm your point, the so-called MKO (The People's Mujahedin of Iran, or the Mojahedin-e-Khalq), the Iranian terrorist group that sided with Saddam Hussein, has committed atrocities against the Iranian nation, and they have even killed Americans. At one point, they were on the American terrorist list. Then they went abroad, and because they now want to get back at Iran, and they want to use them, against us, they were taken off the terrorist list, and now they are good guys.

Tom Gillesberg: I want to ask one other question, which is: We have this whole Syrian situation, but very many say that, of course, this is not Syria. It has nothing to do with Syria. As a next step, this is also preparation for a military attack on Iran that many people have been fantasizing about, both in Britain, in the U.S., and Israel, that this has to happen because Iran is potentially too strong.
Not only that, but if that happens, then that naturally is a confrontation with China and Russia, because this is, again, the principle of national sovereignty. At some point, as Helga Zepp-LaRouche named it, the fight we are seeing is the fight between the “Putin doctrine,” and the “Blair doctrine.” The “Blair doctrine” being the principle of doing away with national sovereignty, under the guise of, amongst other things, the Responsibility to Protect, whereas Putin has been very firm in what he has been doing, by saying that the principle of national sovereignty has to be, like it is stated in the U.N. Charter, like it was stated after WWII. This cannot be challenged. So an attack, of course, on Iran would, also, in principle, be an attack on Russia and China. 
So if some people were to say, ‘We have to end this. We have to, somehow, de-escalate the whole situation,’ what would you propose, also in terms of all the things about the Iranian nuclear program, the hype coming out of some circles speaking about possible Iranian nuclear weapons, at one point, being used against Israel, what would you see as being a good way to de-escalate this whole thing, and reestablish the principle of having collaboration between all of the different nations? 

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: I don’t want to judge the purpose of all this, but what I can say about the Iranian nuclear issue, is that the pressures that are on Iran, and the sanctions, and all that, is really based on things that are nonexistent. Unfortunately, there are those extremist groups, the warmongers, and particularly the Israeli regime, they are in there fighting all of this, and they are trying to bring pressure on various power centers to impose these sanctions, and to put pressure against Iran. 
The Iranian nuclear issue has two sides to it. One is the political aspect, and the other is the technical aspect. On the technical side, there have been hours and hours of inspections from the IAEA, there have been numerous reports from the Director General of the IAEA. In all of this, there has not been one iota of evidence of any deviation in the Iranian nuclear program for military purposes. All the accusations are based on probabilities, maybes, might bes, and, unfortunately, creating concerns for the world community as well. 
Both the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, have said that the new government’s policy will be to emphasize a policy of moderation, trying to de-escalate tension, and to bring down the tempers. We want to have friendly and comprehensive relations with the world community. It’s over two-an-a-half centuries, more than that, that Iran has not had any attacks against any of its neighbors. We have been a defender of peace and security in the region. We have been a leading advocate of a Middle East free of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. 
Regarding the nuclear issue, we want to solve this, at the first opportunity, as soon as possible. The solution to this, from our point of view, is very simple. If Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes is recognized, we are prepared to do anything to allay any international or legitimate concern about the program. If our interlocutors come into negotiations with goodwill, reaching a solution and an agreement is very, very, simple. We hope that the approach, this new drive, from the new government will be met with goodwill from the other side. I can tell you this; if there is goodwill from the other side, a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem is very, very, easy and straight forward.
Thank you.
Tom Gillesberg: Mr. Ambassador, just at the end, is there anything else you would like to say to our viewers?

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: (in English) I would like to thank you very much, you and your colleagues in The Schiller Institute, and I hope that the cooperation between the embassy and your institute will continue, and I hope that, one of the most [important] responsibilities for the research Institute, The Schiller Institute, and others, is to explain the real situation for the people, because, unfortunately, we are living in an atmosphere, that some mass media are trying to say something that is not true, and maybe sometimes the people, and the government, make decisions based on the wrong information. Thank you very much.

Tom Gillesberg: And as they say, regarding this British decision yesterday, which surprised many that this would happen in Britain, it brings to mind the old saying from Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. “You can fool some of the people all of the time. You can fool all of the people some of the time. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Hopefully, the time has come where this can give us a change in policy. Thank you.

Ambassador Hamid Bayat: Thank you.