Nation of peace? Iranian general scoffs at nuclear talks; ‘We welcome war with the Americans!’

President Obama’s favorite negotiating partners in the Middle East don’t seem very interested in peaceful negotiations, according to a recent interview by a top Iranian general on Iranian television.

In fact, said Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, “We welcome war with the Americans.”

The Middle Eastern Media Research Institute, or MERMI, translated an inflammatory message delivered in the May 6 interview. Salami spoke matter-of-factly, without raised voice.

“I warn [the Americans] we have built our strength for the purpose of long, extended wars,” he said, “more than for the purpose of peace, compromise, and dialogue with them. Therefore, the Americans should take these warnings seriously.”

Then Salami got to specifics.

“If they are relying on their aircraft carriers as a source of power they should know these carriers will be destroyed. If they use air bases [in the region], these will be burned. If they want to fly airplanes they should know that all the skies will be set ablaze,” he said.

“I warn the pilots that their first flight will be their last, and that none of them will return home safe and sound.”

Whatever the merits of the Iranian’s military claims, the fact that he made them on a broadcast ostensibly intended for American ears should give anybody pause before believing any kind of realistic deal is possible with the country that has been the most powerful, consistent foe of the United States for almost 40 years.

Salami stated categorically that Iran was prepared for a “worst-case scenario,” using the English term rather than the Farsi language to make himself better understood.

“We welcome war with the Americans,” he concluded, “because we believe it provides an arena in which we can demonstrate our success, our full potential and our true might.”

He closed by recommending that the Iranian negotiating team leave the table if American diplomats use “intimidations, threats and insults again.”

The interview was by no means Salami’s first appearance on the world stage. Shortly after the Obama administration announced a preliminary deal in April to curb Iran’s nuclear arms program, the general brazenly told the world that international inspectors would not be allowed in all of Iran’s facilities.

Inspectors “will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams,” he said, according to Bloomberg Business.

MEMRI is a respected, non-profit news monitoring and analysis organization based in Washington, D.C., which publishes English language translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, and Turkish media reports free of charge.

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