In remarks made Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the United States, Britain and Zionism for the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“America, Zionism, and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions – the wicked government of Britain – have sharply increased their efforts of creating divisions between the Sunnis and Shi’ites,” he said, according to his website, in a speech marking a Shi’ite Muslim religious holiday. …
“They created Al Qaeda and Da’esh in order to create divisions and to fight against the Islamic Republic, but today, they have turned on them (Islamic State),” Khamenei said.
Da’esh is the Arabic acronym of ISIS.
Reuters adds that Khamenei’s singling out of Britain may have been “a counterpoint to an apparent thaw in British-Iranian relations,” which some observed in the recent meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York.
Reuters also reported that a top Iranian official took exception to a Saudi Arabian charge that Iran was an “occupying force” in Syria.
“If Iran wants to be part of the solution, it has to pull its forces from Syria. The same applies elsewhere, whether in Yemen or Iraq,” Prince Saud was quoted by local media as saying on Monday, reverting to Riyadh’s habitual rhetoric about Iran.
“Mr Saud al-Faisal’s remarks, if quoted accurately, contradicts the atmosphere ruling diplomatic negotiations between the two countries,” Abdollahian responded, pointedly ignoring the minister’s royal title.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Mir Abdollahian described Iran’s presence in Syria as part of a “fight against terrorism.”
Last month, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reaffirmed Iran’s support of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Over 190,000 people have been reported killed in three years of the Syrian civil war
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