Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday met a group of former prisoners who had been jailed either by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the war he imposed on Iran or by the regime of former despotic Shah of Iran before the 1979 Revolution.
The friendly meeting was held to mark the anniversary of the return of freed prisoners to their homeland after serving years in the Iraqi jails during the war in the 1980s.
Addressing the former prisoners who were all staff members of the Foreign Ministry, the Iranian top diplomat said the Ministry is proud that 40 percent of its staffs are war veterans.
Among our staff members and managers, there are people who served terms in the former Iranian regime’s jails for their revolutionary cause as well as honourable former prisoners of the Iran-Iraq war and those taken captive by counter-revolutionary groups, he noted.
The Iranian foreign minister went on to say that the spirit of self-sacrifice is the most significant power of the Islamic Republic which has been preserved among the people, serving as a huge social capital for the whole country.
“Despite some difficulties in their daily lives, the Iranian people have remained steadfast in protecting their country and independence by drawing on their great culture, resistance and sacrifice,” he said.
Zarif then pointed out that the countries which are under the patronage of a foreign power and equipped with arsenals filled with modern weaponry lack a great capital called “people”, which Iran boasts.
He said he is certain that if necessary, the Iranian people will prove they are still the most important element of their country’s national power. “We, the Iranian officials of the Islamic Republic, are duty-bound to do whatever in our power to preserve this valuable capital.”
During the meeting, a number of former war prisoners also expressed their views on a range of issues.