A top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader recently declared that Iran would maintain its involvement and presence in the region, in order to thwart the plots of Israel and the U.S., among other goals.
The comments by Ali Akbar Velayati were made on February 1 Mashhad, at the Conference for Support of the Palestinian Intifada. The comments, which were reported by Iranian media, were quoted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
"Let me tell you, you don't have to worry about that mess (a reference to the recent popular uprising in Iran -ed.), some of whose [participants] stupidly became a tool in the hands of the mercenaries and speak against the sacred goals of the revolution. The call 'Neither Gaza nor Lebanon' conceals a misunderstanding of the developments in the world. Can someone sit at home and say that the conflagration at his neighbor's home does not concern him?”
"Everyone wants a foothold in our country. That is the essence of the global developments,” claimed Velayati.
"Let's assume we aren't Muslims. [Even so], could we conceivably [watch] the Israeli flag being raised near our border, in the Kurdish region of Iraq, and remain silent?” he continued.
"The Lebanese Hezbollah has grown stronger thanks to Iran, and we are proud of this. Hezbollah is now in a situation similar to [its situation in] the 2006 Lebanon war: The Israeli leaders are fleeing from it,” claimed Velayati.
"In the Gaza war, the leaders of the resistance in Palestine said, 'Iran supplied us with everything, from bread to bullets.' After the war, [Islamic Jihad leader] Ramadan [Shalah] declared this at a press conference. We are proud to sit here and help the Muslims against the Zionists,” he stated.
"Today,” claimed Velayati, “America wants to dismantle countries. The plot of the New Middle East [involves] breaking up countries, and Iran opposes this.”
"Our presence in the region is inevitable. We will continue this process, so as to become the most decisive force in the region. We are present in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, at the behest of and in coordination with the governments of these countries. We help Yemen because it is our human duty to do so. Saudi Arabia must know that this ongoing process will make Yemen its Vietnam," he warned.
Velayati has in the past vowed that his country would continue its ballistic missile tests, after the United States sharply criticized one of those tests.
At the time, he mocked U.S. President Donald Trump, saying, "This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran" and adding, "Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power ... America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran.”
More recently, Velayati warned European governments against imposing new conditions on the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.
Velayati is also on the Interpol wanted list over the deadly bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994.