In an interview with the Russian Kommersant daily, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani weighed in on a range of issues, including the accusations leveled against Tehran by US President Donald Trump.
Shamkhani criticized Trump’s allegations that Iran is contributing to instability in the Middle East and supporting terrorism.
“These accusations are completely baseless and not true, and the international community will definitely not take them seriously,” said Shamkhani.
“We should see who really supports terrorism. Iran has been fighting terrorism for around 40 years now, and several thousand of Iranians have been killed during the course of combating terrorism,” the Iranian official added.
“Only after the September 11 attacks did US officials come to realize what terrorism is. This is while Trump has made his first overseas trip to a country which is the factory of producing terrorists,” Shamkhani noted.
Saudi Arabia, a Terrorist-Producing Factory
The senior Iranian official slammed Saudi Arabia as a breeding ground for terrorists.
He said the Wahhabi ideology, oil revenues and political discontent in Saudi Arabia have led to emergence of “extremist youths” who are not strong enough to destabilize the situation in the country, but can easily move to Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
“In fact, the terrorist-producing factory in Saudi Arabia keeps operating non-stop,” said Shamkhani.
“If you pay attention, none of the terrorists across the world are Shiites or Iranians. One should ask ‘Who organized the September eleven attacks? Who conducts terrorist bombings in Europe every now and then? Who is training extremists in the Caucasus to carry out terrorist operations in Syria?’” said Shamkhani.
Iran, Russia, Syria, Iraq Members of Anti-Terror Campaign
Shamkhani said terrorists in Syria and Iraq are in fact tools to implement Washington’s policies in the region.
He said the only coalition which is really fighting terrorism in the region is the alliance between Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq.
“Within this framework, the first four-way meeting between secretaries of national security councils of the above-mentioned countries was held on the sidelines of the Russia security summit and constructive negotiations were held,” he said.
Shamkhani also referred to Iran’s role in implementing the agreement to create de-escalation zones in Syria.
“Iran is very serious in fighting terrorism and establishing peace and stability in Syria. If Iran is asked to redouble its efforts, for example to deploy its military troops to ensure order and security in de-escalation zones, we will be ready to study the proposal,” he noted.
Syria against US Presence on Its Soil
Shamkhani expressed his opposition to Washington’s contribution to the maintenance of security in de-escalation zones in Syria while touching upon talks conducted between Moscow and Washington on the issue.
“Syria has a legal government, and it is only Damascus officials that can make decisions on who has the right to be present on the country’s soil. The Americans blatantly support terrorism and instability in Syria, and the Syrian government wouldn’t like to see them on Syrian soil,” said Shamkhani.
He also pointed to Syria’s initiative to launch a collective campaign against intelligence crimes.
“We would like to know more about this initiative. We agree that cyberattacks on countries should be tackled,” said Shamkhani.
He said one of the key features of cyberattacks is that they go beyond borders and moral principles.
“It is very good that the UN Security Council is active in this domain,” said Shamkhani, adding Iran stands ready to contribute to the campaign against cyberattacks.