“Moadeleh-ye Nasr” — “Winning Formula” — playing on the name of Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, is the catchy headline of a special edition of Masir monthly, published by the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The featured story focuses on a 5-hour interview with Nasrallah, which was also uploaded on YouTube. What is Nasrallah’s message and what is Khamenei’s intent with releasing the interview?

Nasrallah’s message is not so much to the broader Iranian or Lebanese publics as to Khamenei, whom he sycophantically calls “His Lordship.” Nasrallah falsely credits Khamenei with a significant role in the establishment of Hezbollah, 14 minutes into the first part of the interview.

Nasrallah also claims Khamenei, during his largely ceremonial presidency from 1981-89, was the main point of contact between Hezbollah and Iran. In reality, Iranian parliamentary Speaker Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s successor designate, oversaw the Lebanon portfolio.

Following a few sentences about the dismissal of Montazeri as successor designate and discussing Khomeini’s death in 1989, Nasrallah admitted that Hezbollah leadership followed events in Iran with great consternation but claims “the hearts of the devout were calmed” as Khamenei usurped power in Iran and the Lebanese Shias “declared their allegiance” to Khamenei as “the chief commander of the Muslims.” Changing of the leadership or presidents in Iran did not alter the strategic relationship with the Lebanese militia.

Nasrallah praised the “prophetic” insight of Khamenei, who, at a prayer ceremony during which high-ranking Hezbollah commanders tried to kiss the hands and feet of the ayatollah, allegedly predicted the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000.

The interviewer asked Nasrallah about Khamenei’s prediction in 2015 that “Israel won’t survive the next 25 years.” Nasrallah responded: “We believe His Lordship is recognised by God almighty. What he says emanates from a higher authority.”

However, instead of leaving the destruction of Israel to higher authorities, Nasrallah conditioned fulfilment of Khamenei’s prophecy on continued Iranian support to “the Resistance.”

In his remarks concerning the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, Nasrallah credited Khamenei with Hezbollah’s “victory.” In Nasrallah’s account, the 2006 war was a US-Israeli conspiracy beginning with invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. “[US President George] Bush was a cowboy who wanted to enter the saloon with the severed heads of the Resistance, Palestine and Syria hanging from his belt!” he said.

However, when Nasrallah consulted Khamenei, the ayatollah allegedly said: “America’s power peaked prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan. Now, America is a descending power.”

Nasrallah disclosed that Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the extraterritorial operations al-Quds Force, visited him in Beirut in 2006 to give him a letter from Khamenei. Allegedly, Khamenei began the letter by calling Hezbollah’s abduction of two Israeli soldiers “a divine blessing in disguise, since it forced Israel to attack you in Lebanon.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Hezbollah’s recklessness not only provoked a public row between Nasrallah and Soleimani, who fundamentally perceives Hezbollah as a deterrence force against Israel and did not want to see a war.

Criticism of Nasrallah was so widespread within Iran and in Lebanon, that he admitted abduction of Israeli soldiers was a mistake and the war a miscalculation. In this interview, however, Nasrallah’s historical revisionism depicts his relationship with Soleimani in a very different light.

Nasrallah’s litany of real and imagined victories of Hezbollah and real and imagined defeats of the United States and Israel because of the prophetic if not divine wisdom of Khamenei explains the purpose of his interview: asking for more funding from Tehran.

The Office of the Supreme Leader pursues a different goal, which is boosting Khamenei’s prestige. The sycophant praises a weak leader, who needs praise.

Source » arabweekly