Posted by Juan Cole
"The USG Open Source Center translates the following piece from Persian:
'Iranian Guards Chief: US Forces in Middle East 'Extremely' Vulnerable
Fars News Agency (Internet Version-WWW)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 T19:35:28Z
The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has said: If America attacks Iran, its 200,000 troops and 33 bases in the region will be extremely vulnerable, and both American politicians and military commanders are aware of it.
The defense correspondent of Fars new agency reports that, addressing the students of Sharif Industrial University at the invitation of basijis students, Maj-Gen Rahim Safavi talked about the geopolitical importance of Iran in the region, and added: From a global and regional point of view, we live in a sensitive and transitory period of uncertainty and mistrust which is also fateful and complex.
Stating that Iran has an important and sensitive geopolitical position in the region and beyond, Safavi said: Iran can be instrumental in the establishment of organizations in the region and affect their performance, and their political progression.
Stressing that the unique geographical position of Iran and its proximity to the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz are its wining cards in terms of foreign policy, the IRGC commander said: Iran can control at will the Strait of Hormuz through which 17 million barrels of oil are transported (as published).
Talking about the effects of the (1979) Islamic revolution on Muslims and the freedom-loving people of the world, the general stated: Muslims have learnt from Iran that Islam is a complete way of running a country and we are witnessing the effects of this understanding in Iraq, Lebanon and other countries.
At the end of his talk, asked about the aim of the latest US military maneuver, Safavi said: America has fallen into the quagmire of Iraq and Afghanistan and it can neither make headway nor retreat, and if it attacks Iran, it 200,000 troops and 33 bases in the region will be extremely vulnerable and both American politicians and military commanders are aware of it.
Safavi went on: Americans can start a war, but its ending will not be in their hands, taking into account that we have not yet asked the people of Iraq to take any action (as published).
The general's words were met with enthusiasm by the students, and continuing with his talk, he added: After the military exercises, one of the American generals in Kuwait said the same way that the combatants of Hezbollah and their missiles took us by surprise, so did Iran's missile capability.
In reply to another question about the defeat of the American plan for the Greater Middle East, the IRGC commander stressed: They have tried hard and so far have spent 400bn dollars in Iraq, but we are the beneficiaries. Moreover, two of our major adversaries, Saddam and the Taliban, are no longer there and our influence in the region has increased to the extent that we are the strategic winner in the Middle East.
Finally talking about the film clips of an American aircraft carrier (shown in Iran) Safavi said the aircraft that filmed the ship was built by Iranian students (like you), and we have full intelligence about extra-territorial forces in the region."