The deputy chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said on Sunday that the radical Sunni Islamic State group is “US state-sponsored terrorism” aimed at defaming Islam on behalf of the “Zionist regime.”
Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri made the comments during a talk with military commanders and officials in Tehran, the Fars News Agency reported.
“ISIL [an acronym for the Islamic State group] is the product of the thoughts and acts of the US state-sponsored terrorism with the aim of defaming Islam and preventing people’s tendency in different societies and countries towards this religion,” Jazzayeri said of the jihadist group that has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq, where it brutally enforces an extreme interpretation of Islamic law.
The purpose of IS is the “implementation of plots to create a new Middle East,” Jazzayeri claimed, and also “the creation of desired changes in line with the illegitimate interests of the Zionist regime.”
“To weaken the Muslims in all fields with the help and alliance of the regional hirelings are among other goals of creating the ISIL,” he continued.
Iranian officials have in the past accused the US of being behind radical Islamic terror groups.
In April the commander of Iran’s ground forces, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, said the US had established the Islamic State, Boko Haram and al-Nusra Front groups to hurt Islam by pitting religious groups against one another.
“The American and European people’s high tendency toward Islam and (the necessity for) protection of the Zionist regime’s security have caused the US to create the terrorist groups,” he said.
Days earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top adviser for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, called extremist groups including Islamic State “the protégés of the Americans.”
Iran is in the midst of negotiating with world powers, led by the US, the terms of a deal that would put strong curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.