If not for Iran, the world would now be facing the Islamic State as a terrorist government in charge of Baghdad and Damascus, and not just a terror group, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed.
At a conference on Saturday, Rouhani said that Iran was a “pioneer in fighting against extremism and violence in the world in word and action.”
“If Iran hadn’t help, ISIL would have been materialized practically and today, we would be facing an ISIL terrorist government instead of a terrorist group,” he said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency which used another acronym for the Islamic State.
Iran came to the aid of Iraq and Syria to stop the rapid advances of the group, in the summer on 2014, and had it done so, Baghdad and Damascus would today be in the hands of the terror group, Rouhani said, according to Iranian media.
Also Saturday, an Iranian minister claimed Syria was on the frontlines of “plans and plots” against Iran and that IS was continuously attempting to send terror cells to the Islamic Republic.
Speaking to a Lebanese TV station affiliated with Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said that Iran had offered Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family asylum in Iran, which Assad had refused.
Iran has been a staunch ally of Assad and has sent its own forces to fight alongside his military in the war-torn country.
The Islamic State seized large swathes of land in both Syria and Iraq in a military blitz in June 2014, killing thousands and taking hundreds of women and children from minority communities as prisoners.
Iran is said to have carried out a series of air strikes, at the request of Iraq, following the fall of Mosul to the terror group and sent ground troops to help stop its advance.
A US-led coalition against the Islamic State began operating in September 2015, mainly through airstrikes.