Mahmoud al-Zahar is a co-founder of Hamas and the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. He is said to be Khaled Mashal’s rival for the leadership of Hamas, now that the latter is running his Gaza fiefdom from exile in Doha.
The following BBC interview with Mahmoud al-Zahar was originally conducted in English, and then dubbed into Farsi. As far as I know, the English version was never made available by the Beeb.
Vlad includes this introductory note:
This is a significant interview, and while it was supposed to be available in English by request, no request was answered by those who asked. Please download and spread this video by any and all means in case it is removed. It must be seen and understood. While it isn’t a ‘sexy’ video of psychos screaming, it is an extremely powerful person calmly discussing geopolitically significant matters such as nuclear weapons, genocide, strategic alliances and enmity as well as ambitions as well as the implementation of sharia in Gaza. Add to this recent demonstrations of Hamas’ alliance with Turkey and we see what could be a game-changer in the region.
Many thanks to Shabnam Assadollahi for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
0:03 I think more than that for us is first of all a strategic relationship. 0:09 Because more than anything else, we believe in the concept of the Islamic Ummah 0:14 including all nationalities and different branches of the Muslim ummah 0:18 …from East to West. Therefore I believe our relationship is more strategic than anything else 0:25 BBC: Do you think beyond Iran’s national interests, Iran has been more interested… 0:31 in the alliance with the Islamic countries, or have you noticed Iran’s diplomacy sometimes… 0:37 has caused conflict in Islamic countries? 0:40 Al-Zahar: There are some elements, new elements and events have emerged in Iran 0:44 that show Iran has been working in Arabic countries for its own interests. 0:49 For example, events that happen in Yemen 0:55 and Iran’s support of (former Iraqi Prime Minister) Nouri al-Maliki 1:02 BBC: So it is true that if you had to choose a real friend in the region among… 1:07 all the players, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or any other players, Egypt, Turkey, you would choose Iran as your best ally? 1:19 Al-Zahar: At present, it is, but we try to extend this umbrella friendship. 1:25 BBC: As you stated, everyone should give the priority to the unification of the Islamic Ummah… 1:30 I’d like to ask you that many have been killed in Syria conflict… 1:36 Don’t you think its a moral obligation for to you to put aside neutrality in this regard? 1:43 Al-Zahar: In every country, the leader must be a servant to public… 1:48 If a nation is suffering because of deprivation of her rights, so they fight for their rights… 1:51 this will embarrass those of us who played a neutral role 1:55 BBC: You copy your pattern in your fight similarly to Hezbollah in many ways 2:00 Hezbullah has intervened in Syria, what is your opinion in this regard 2:03 Al-Zahar:: In my opinion Hezbollah is different from Hamas 2:06 Hezbullah is not in an occupied region. In addition, Hezbollah is part of Lebanon 2:11 with an advanced and organized army 2:16 BBC: You say that Hezbollah has so much power if so then 2:19 why should it waste its resources elsewhere? 2:21 Actually: The truth is that we hope that all those forces 2:25 who are in fight with Israel remain strong and keep their energy 2:29 to fight against Israel’s aggression 2:33 We (Hamas) are helpless in this area. We are tightly bound 2:37 BBC: You mentioned that Iran is helping you out with rebuilding 2:41 is there any military aid that Iran could have helped you with and preferred not to? 2:44 Al-Zahar: We do not want to talk about this… 2:47 because it will only benefit our enemy, Israel 2:51 BBC: But Iran’s military commanders have spoken about it 2:57 They officially said that range of Hamas rockets… 3:01 against Israel’s recent war in Gaza was because of them 3:06 so if there is another war between Hamas and Israel, Hamas … 3:10 could have stronger power in defending . So this is not a secret. 3:13 Al-Zahar: To the extent that they have said is acceptable 3:18 This accepted in our range. Yes, we receive all kinds of support from Iran 3:22 Financial, weapons, training materials 3:26 Knowledge and experience transfer… 3:30 etc. This is undeniable , however, must now see … 3:34 how we can maximize our advantages for this unrest 3:38 in the region so Hamas can be supported without getting involved with the technical details 3:45 BBC: Can I ask you whether you believe 3:47 at heart, if Iran arms with nuclear weapons, 3:50 is it beneficial to Hamas resistance or not? 3:54 or is it beneficial to the region and the world? 3:57 Al-Zahar: Israel has nuclear weapons… 4:02 USA has nuclear weapons. Many Western countries… 4:06 have nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan… 4:09 have nuclear weapons, why shouldn’t Iran have them? 4:11 BBC: Which Iranian politician do you find more… 4:15 supportive of Hamas and supportive of Palestinian resistance? 4:19 Al-Zahar: I think up to now, all the Iranian Gov’t officials… 4:26 have sympathized with the Palestinians 4:30 especially the Palestinian resistance. After Iran’s recent presidential elections… 4:34 we contacted the Iranian military and political leaders 4:39 and they firmly told us that no changes will be happening in the Iranian diplomacy on the Palestinian issue. 4:46 BBC: Some time ago, recently, Mr. Khamenei, repeatedly every week has told 4:51 that the West Bank should be armed and must fight against Israel. 4:55 Al- Zahar: He (Khamenei) spoke word of the principles and that we have the rights to be armed and remain as armed 5:01 BBC: I have noticed that Sharia Law in Gaza City… 5:03 is not practiced as it is in Iran 5:07 For example, hijab (head covering) is mandatory for women in Iran… 5:11 but its optional here in Gaza. In your opinion isn’t Iran a good role Model… 5:15 as an Islamic country to govern the society? 5:18 Al-Zahar: We can not enforce Sharia law on the people… 5:23 but if one day we form our country, we must execute Sharia law… 5:27 and public must respect those laws. 5:30 In Iran despite having Sharia Law, a large percentage of Iranians are not 100% devoted to the Islamic Sharia 5:38 BBC: One of the issues and problems Iranians have with the Iranian government… 5:41 …and protested against in 2009 is that the nation cried out … 5:44 that government gives too much attention to Palestinians and not to the 5:47 nation, where the Iranians chanted No to Gaza, No to Lebanon, I give my life for Iran… 5:51 in your opinion, is (the gov’t) of Iran neglecting the Iranians and overwhelmingly helping the Palestinians? 6:04 Al-Zahar: This is a short-sighted view, 6:07 because if they (the Iranians) don’t allow the Iranian gov’t supporting Hamas… 6:11 it will cost their own existence as Israel is Iran’s number one enemy.