Iran Was Poised to Strike US Bases If Trump Attacked to Avenge Downed Drone, IRGC General Says
And is just as ready to strike back if attacked over the Saudi oil plant strike
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), says Iran was ready to attack US bases in the region if the country tried to retaliate after Iran downed its intruding spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.
“As was mentioned in previous interviews, if they wanted to attack, we would have attacked US bases with missiles, and we were ready, and we would have targeted the US base in al-Udeid in Qatar or al-Dhafra in the Emirates or their ships in the Gulf of Oman or Arabian Sea, and if they had hit us, we would have hit them back,” General Hajizadeh said in an interview with the Nader’s Show, hosted by Nader Talebzadeh.
During the interview, General Hajizadeh answered some questions from former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi, journalist and author Pepe Escobar and former Pentagon officer and political analyst Michael Maloof.
“Of course, they knew and had intelligence and were aware of the consequences of that eventuality,” he said. “But if that incident had occurred, the conflict would have continued and intensified.”
US busy spying 12,000 kilometers away from own borders: Hajizadeh
He pointed out that the US presence in the Middle East is not justified.
“If we take a look at the map of the world, if free-thinking people around the world and in America take a look, they will see that the distance between Iran and the United States is around 12,000 kilometers. Twelve thousand kilometers between us and America, and America has covered this distance and has come close to our borders, it builds bases and is busy spying,” he remarked.
In other words, the general continued, the issue of America’s security is not necessarily relevant to this region, and if a nation wants to defend itself it can invest in its neighboring area, but “12,000 kilometers away” cannot be viewed seriously.
“Their numerous spy planes are busy flying around outside of Iran’s borders and everybody knows that their intelligence activities and collection with manned or unmanned planes is of a significant magnitude,” Hajizadeh said, adding, “In this recent incident, we actually defended ourselves. The MQ-4C, an advanced US spy plane, entered into Iranian airspace. Yes, it is correct, it only entered into [Iran] a few kilometers, but in any case, we don’t tolerate even a few meters.”
He emphasized that his forces warned the US drone four times before shooting it down “but they did not pay any attention.”
The top Iranian general noted that the IRGC forces could also shoot down an American P8 spy plane, which had a crew of approximately 35, but decided not to do that.
Hajizadeh said the US has no reason to build military bases in the Middle East and will be driven out of the region inevitably, because “we in the region witnessed nothing but insecurity and enmity so far.”
He stated that the US spends American taxpayers’ money in a “very destructive” way in the region. “We witness civil war in Afghanistan, mass killings occurred in Iraq in these years, insecurity in the region, disease, environmental destruction. With this money that has been spent by the Americans, militant groups like Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda were created. People around the world have now realized that America has spent this money and is now supporting Saudi Arabia whose crown prince murdered [journalist Jamal] Khashoggi.”
‘Would Americans tolerate if we sent our drones to their coasts?’
The IRGC general asked the American people what their reactions would be if Iran sent its drones along the US coasts. “In other words, if we send our drones and began doing these things, would the US tolerate it? Naturally, they wouldn’t tolerate it.”
4/5: The #aerospace Force commander of #IRGC on @NadersShow raised a question over "what reaction would #AmericanPeople and officials have in response to sending our unmanned #drones and flying them along the #USA coast?" https://t.co/UCnhpodvhZ
— Nader Talebzadeh (@TalebzadeNader) September 7, 2019
He also rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that the US had been “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran but he decided to call off the mission.
“Well, let me say that this is not true,” said General Hajizadeh, adding, “This is contrary to reality. Look, it’s possible that within the US military, among politicians’ discussions might have occurred, but they didn’t reach that decision. Why? Because we defended ourselves and downed the US spy drone. With what excuse did they want to attack?”
General Hajizadeh: Nobody wants war or conflict
The chief of the IRGC aerospace unit also said one of the things that “we and the Americans have in common is that nobody wants war or conflict, but if an unintentional conflict occurs, it is possible that it results in a war.”
“Because of the tensions and the sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” he cautioned. “When these contacts become too close, when forces come in contact with one another, it is possible that a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.”
“In other words, it’s possible that the leaders in Iran and in the US do not want war, but the forces and troops that are in contact with one another in the region enter into an unintentional war. So, logic dictates that America keeps its distance.”
Asked by Mr. Maloof about the decision-making process of downing the American drone and whether it was ordered at the highest levels, General Hajizadeh said Iranian forces at any level have specific directives on how to act in different circumstances.
3/5: While conducting an interview with General #Hajizadeh, he rejected strongly @realDonaldTrump's saying that it was not #Iran's decision to down the #US_drone, but one of the units did that on its own authority.#MQ_4C https://t.co/dhCuryTvJc
— Nader Talebzadeh (@TalebzadeNader) September 7, 2019
“Look, we have directives that we issue to our units,” he explained. “For example, we specify that if a plane in these circumstances, with these conditions, is closing in within a certain distance, you give a warning. But if it goes beyond certain conditions, you confront and shoot it down.”
Defensive units possess higher authority compared to offensive units, says Hajizadeh
“Naturally, we have sets of authorities at various levels of the Guards, some at the command level and some at the unit level at the borders. In other words, they have a set of authorities. For example, it could be that launching a missile requires higher level authority, which is the case everywhere around the world. If for example, an airplane wants to bomb a location, a decision has to be taken. However, on matters of defense and air defense, it could be that a junior officer manning his post, when he identifies a situation and discovers something and sees that it is not a friendly force, has the duty to confront. He has this directive.”
He further explained that offensive units require authority at higher levels compared to defensive units, in which authority is granted to lower levels.
Hajizadi continued, “For instance, I’m the commander of the Aerospace Force, and I was informed only after the drone was targeted and downed. It was not the case that I was informed previously and it wasn’t the case that I stayed up and was ready to give orders. No, those units are at the border and decide themselves and have authority.”
The general noted that a similar incident occurred a few years ago, when Iranian forces shot down an Israeli spy plane which was over Natanz in the central part of the country, emphasizing, “There as well, they had the authority because it had entered their area. Naturally, they confronted it and downed it.”
Asked whether his forces identified the intruding American drone before they shot it down, Hajizadeh said, “Yes. The units in the area identified the aircraft. The difference between the Global Hawk RQ4 and the MQ4 is very slight, and the units there identified it but the units that publicized it didn’t make that distinction, but after it was downed, the precise model was established. And after it was downed and they informed me, they informed me that it was a MQ-4 drone, a very large spy aircraft.”
‘Probability of a US retaliation was very low’
Hajizadeh argued that the probability of a US response was very low after the incident “because we had warned them four times, we didn’t do it over their base, we did it over our space.”
Considering the fact that Iran was capable of targeting the P-8 but refrained from doing so, the Americans understood that it was a warning to the US, the Iranian commander said.
“Yes, it is true that they lost a very large aircraft, but nobody was killed and this was a warning that Mr. Trump also acknowledged and thanked us for choosing to [only] strike the unmanned aircraft,” he added.
He reiterated that the incident could have easily turned into a war should the Americans decided to retaliate.
Asked by Mr. Escobar whether the 3rd Khordad air defense system and its parts were produced domestically, General Hajizadeh said “We have been under an arms embargo for the last 40 years, including the eight years of the war and the last 30 years as well. We haven’t been able to buy anything from the world to bring here.”
He said Iran is even banned from purchasing automotive spare parts, and that France and some other countries with which Iran has contracts, don’t deliver automotive spare parts to the Islamic Republic.
The same goes for aircraft parts and even in very trivial things we are sanctioned, he said.
“So naturally, the import sector for weapons is very limited and we didn’t have many options. Over these years we couldn’t even import simple things like radars which every country needs for its defense. We can’t attack anybody with that radar, but it can detect if an aircraft is passing or not, and even this they wouldn’t sell to us and this had dire consequences.”
Sanctions made Iran self-sufficient: IRGC aerospace unit chief
The general highlighted that Iran became self-sufficient as a result of the sanctions which inflicted heavy losses on Iran, especially during the eight-year war which was imposed by Iraq.
Noting that Iran’s military achievements are incredible, Hajizadeh said, “Our domestic systems are not just one or two examples. Thousands of weapons systems are manufactured domestically and this would be impossible with imports and bringing things from abroad. We are self-sufficient and our dynamism will continue.”
Asked by Mr. Maloof if a conflict between Iran and the US-backed terrorist groups such as ISIS is on the horizon, General Hajizadeh said “Look, we’ve been fighting them in the last seven-eight years now, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even in Iran and now we are continuing to fight with their remnants and the vast majority of them have been destroyed and they scattered around the region.”
“We know that they are being supported by America and at various times during the conflicts they conducted airdrops for them, supplied them, transported their commanders and they supported them. They would smuggle Iraqi oil under US protection and they would sell the crude oil. They are being supported by America and in Afghanistan this is also the case.”
“But the fighting is not going to be larger than the fighting that happened in the past and the majority of them have been eradicated and destroyed,” he added.
‘U.S. leaders, commanders not having the will for a war’
Asked Mr. Giraldi about the possibility of an Iran-US conflict, the IRGC general said, “We do not see the American military or the American political leaders having the will for a war. But all of this comes down to a decision and ultimately, it’s possible that a decision will be taken in the future.”
He went on to say, “We do not see such situation in America, US bases, the state of the US military or the morale of American officers and soldiers being on that level. But we ourselves have a duty, and with the management of the Supreme Leader, we always view the future with skepticism and we say that a big war will occur. That is, in the military we are always preparing ourselves for a war.”
“In other words, if a rational nation wants to avoid war, it has no option but to prepare itself for war,” he argued. “Therefore, it’s on this basis that we are permanently preparing ourselves, developing our capabilities, and fulfilling our intelligence and operational duties.”
General Hajizadeh also stressed that the possibility of an incident or misunderstanding which could lead to a war is higher than a pre-planned war.
Mr. Escobar asked what is the key message that the IRGC wants to American officials and more importantly global public opinion to be aware of, to which Hajizadeh responded, “We don’t have much to say to American officials because American officials are not committed to anything nor do they have any firm beliefs, nor are they concerned about the American people nor do they care about the people of the region.”
Hajizadeh: Zionists determine U.S. policies, actions
“They care about the one percent rich people in America and we believe that the American people are captives of the politicians and rulers who constitute a tiny minority who themselves are captives of the Zionists,” he noted.
“It’s the Zionists that determine who the president of the United States will be and it’s them who determine his policies and actions,” the general added.
He said America’s power is declining because of the pervasive corruption of its rulers, who “support a murderer and because of the Saudi money they are supporting Daesh and al-Qaeda which developed with the support of this same Saudi Arabia. They have really fallen and declined morally.”
According to a new report, US Army soldiers are being exposed to a deck of playing cards depicting Iranian weaponry to get a better sense of Iran’s weapons stockpile. General Hajizadeh was asked to comment on the report. He said the American troops really know and understand and they are making fun of their own officials.
1/5: You might have heard of the recent #USA admirable innovation toward having the #USArmy wide-awake about #Iranian missiles, tanks and drones, which raised many questions. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
If you are out of date, check it out on @FAScientists report: https://t.co/CncLe39bnI pic.twitter.com/NKiRbh7Si3
— Nader Talebzadeh (@TalebzadeNader) September 7, 2019
“We monitor their tweets, they curse their own officials, nasty curses,” he said.
“Just imagine a few thousand people have to bear the circumstances of being on the sea for months. For rest and recreation, they take them to a barren and dry place. They are really under pressure and the troops can’t really fight with this morale.”
“I also want to say something so that the whole world hears this,” the general continued. “In addition to the US bases in various regions like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Emirates and Qatar, we can target all naval vessels up to a distance of 2,000 km and we are constantly monitoring them.”
Iran of today not comparable to Iran of 30 years ago: Hajizadeh
Hajizadeh noted that the Iran of today is not the Iran of 30 years ago, when an aircraft would fly to the center of the country like in the Tabas incident, and Iran didn’t have the equipment, the radar and the air defense systems to respond.
“They shot down our Airbus passenger plane with 290 people on board and we couldn’t respond, he said, adding, “But today it is very different. Today we are powerful and our response will be very powerful and crushing.”
Asked to comment on the impact of Iran on the defensive power of the region, General Hajizadeh said, “According to Islamic teachings, we must help Muslims around the world. If in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Yemen they (Muslims) are being attacked by enemies that are being supported by America and European countries, it is our duty to support them to the best of our abilities and to stand with the Resistance Front.”
The general said Iran will definitely help Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. in spite of the blockades and restrictions that exist.
While concluding his remarks, the Iranian commander said, “It’s not like in the past when they were alone… We are definitely interrelated and are standing beside each other and the era of hit-and-run is over. We will not allow them to oppress us and we stand united against America.”
Source: American Herald Tribune