Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday called the US the “source” of instability in the Middle East and said it was responsible for the creation of the Islamic State terror group.
“You and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East…who created Islamic State? America … America’s claim of fighting against Islamic State is a lie,” Khamenei said during a meeting with government officials, in comments provided by Reuters from his official website.
He also lashed out at US President Donald Trump’s accusations during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia that Tehran was a sponsor of terrorism in the region, saying “It is really ridiculous for the US, standing next to the tribal and medieval Saudis, to talk about human rights in a place which has no notion of democracy, and to accuse Iran which is the emblem of democracy.”
On Tehran’s enmity with Washington, the Iranian leader said “Some of the problems with the US are essentially unresolvable as the US’s problem with us has nothing to do with nuclear energy or human rights, their problem is with the principle of the Islamic Republic.”
He added: “The US must know that the Islamic Republic will not back down from positions such as battling oppression and defending Palestine and will spare no efforts towards defending the people’s rights.”
On Sunday Khamenei said attacks by IS in Europe and elsewhere show that Western policies in the Middle East have backfired.
“Today, Daesh [Islamic State] is being pushed out from its birthplace in Iraq and Syria and is moving to other countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan and even the Philippines and European countries,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.
“This is a fire that [Western powers] themselves ignited and now has backfired on them,” he told a gathering of senior officials in Tehran at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989.
Seventeen people were killed last week in a terror attack claimed by IS in Tehran.
Iranian officials said Saturday they had killed the attack’s mastermind. Authorities have arrested as many as 41 people suspected of links to the terror group.
Khamenei had initially played down the attacks, describing them as “firecrackers” that “will not have the slightest effect on the will of the people.” On Friday, however, he turned his wrath for the attacks on the United States and Saudi Arabia.
“Such acts will have no other result than to reinforce hatred for the US government and its agents in the region, like the Saudi (government),” Khamenei wrote in a message of condolence to the families of the dead.
Agencies contributed to this report.