Former Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Larijani slammed the United States in an interview that aired on Iran TV on Saturday, mocking America’s founders and culture while touting its new ability to confront the U.S., in part due to its strengthening of ties with China.
Larijani, who currently serves as a top adviser to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in foreign affairs, is a veteran official in the Islamic Republic who served in a variety of key posts, including national security adviser, nuclear negotiator, and head of Iran’s state broadcasting service for a decade, strictly controlling its content.
After referring to Westerners as “megalomaniacs who demand more than they deserve” and “the worst people for cooperation,” Larijani praised Iran as the cradle of civilization.
“If this [megalomania] was directed at other nations, it would still be unacceptable, but when we talk about Iran, [we are] the cradle of human civilization.”
Larijani then ridiculed the country’s founders as well as the idea of a uniquely American culture.
“A few cowboys came 300 years ago and it’s not clear who they were – maybe a bunch of thieves who went there – and now they are talking about an American culture, something that doesn’t exist at all,” he said.
“There is no record of something called ‘American culture,’” he added.
Claiming that it was not necessary to cut ties with the West, Larijani insisted that Westerners be viewed for who they truly are.
“I am not saying that we should cut our relations [with the West], or that we need, for example, to expel or ignore their ambassadors,” he said. “We must see them for what they are.”
He continued by describing Westerners as unreliable and untrustworthy.
“[We should] cooperate with them only as much as it serves our interests, because they are unreliable partners,” he said. “They cannot be trusted with anything.”
Larijani also boasted of Iran’s ties with China, adding that the Chinese once told him that after reaching a “threshold of economic and industrial development,” they could successfully confront America directly.
“The Chinese can engage in significant trade cooperation with us. The Chinese [consider] close relations with Iran to be very strategic. For Chinese interests, there is no alternative to Iran,” he said.
“It is happening,” he added.
In March, Iranian state media reported that Iran and China signed a 25-year “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” agreement covering oil, mining, agriculture, heavy industry, and transportation — plus joint research, intelligence-sharing, and military cooperation.
The deal reportedly involves $400 billion in Chinese investment for Iran in exchange for oil shipments.
Last year, Larijani offered a list of conditions for allowing the U.S. back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.
“The Americans need to [re-enter] the JCPOA without preconditions, to fulfill their obligations, and to compensate us for the damages they have caused us,” he said, adding that, otherwise, Iran should take a “zero commitment” approach to negotiations.
Larijani’s statements come as the Biden administration is accused of wasting diplomatic leverage built over the last four years, as it eases sanctions without receiving adequate commitments in return.
Last month, the Biden administration lifted sanctions on several former Iranian officials and companies in an effort to ease pressure on the Islamic regime as negotiations over a nuclear deal continue.
Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is refusing to provide data from its nuclear sites to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), declaring that it would no longer cooperate with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency after its temporary monitoring agreement expired in June.
Earlier this month, Iranian General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Corps, said America has always been an enemy of Iran and will always remain so, adding the Islamic regime could impose sanctions when the time comes.
“America has never been our friend,” he said. “It was, is, and forever will be our enemy, because our interests do not intertwine.”
In June, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted President Joe Biden’s approach to the Middle East, claiming the president was being “played” by Iran and that a war between Iran and Israel could be looming.
“Here’s the gameplan — number one, the Iranians are playing President Biden like a fiddle,” he said.
The Ayatollah is a religious Nazi. Hitler wanted a master race. The Ayatollah wants a master religion. They’re trying to drive us out of Syria and Iraq so they can dominate Syria, Iraq and Iran — the Shia Crescent. They’re trying to build a nuclear weapon to hold the world hostage and one day destroy the state of Israel. They’re on the path to accomplish all of that unless we make a correction now. I’ve never been more worried than I am right now about a war between Iran and Israel.
Following the mid-June election of Iranian hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as the next Iranian president, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned against Iran’s “regime of executioners” obtaining a nuclear bomb, adding Raisi’s election should be a “wake up call” for western powers hoping to resuscitate the tattered nuclear deal.
Also last month, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to attempts to rejoin the nuclear deal and scrap sanctions by warning that “the Biden administration is about to empower the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism again.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein