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Khamenei claims Iran has foiled US plans in Mideast

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claims Tehran has neutralized US plans in the Middle East, in a speech Wednesday marking the Persian New Year.

“Those who interfere in all the affairs of the world protest and ask: ‘Why does Iran intervene in the affairs of Iraq and Syria?’ What is it to you? The Islamic Republic of Iran has succeeded in neutralizing US plans in the region,” he says.

Khamenei accuses the United States of planning to “create oppressive and rebel groups like Daesh (the Islamic State group) to distract people in the region from the Zionist regime (Israel) and keep them occupied with internal conflicts.”

In this photo from May 2, 2016, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses a group of teachers in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

The all-powerful Iranian leader’s speech is delivered in the holy city of Masshad and broadcast on state television.

Iran has supported the governments of Syria and Iraq by sending “military advisers” and its own “volunteers” along with Afghans and Pakistanis to fight jihadists and rebels.

Its presence in the region has been denounced by the United States as well as France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Khamenei says Iran was there “at the request of the governments and people” of those countries.

“Without a doubt, the United States will not reach its goals in the region and, thank God, we will achieve ours,” he adds.

— AFP

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