Ayatollah Ali Khamenei iran 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Israel and the United States on Saturday for recent suicide attacks in Iraq that have killed dozens of Iranian Shiite Muslim pilgrims.
"Dirty hands and evil brains that founded this blind and uncontrolled terrorism in Iraq should know that the fire will burn them, too," Khamenei said in a statement broadcast on state television.
More than 150 people, including many Iranian pilgrims, were killed in high-profile attacks Thursday and Friday in Iraq that primarily targeted Shiite worshipers.
"The American and Israeli intelligence services are the prime suspects," state television quoted the Iranian leader as saying.
Khamenei, who has the final say in all state matters, said American forces have brought greater insecurity to Iraq and have killed tens of thousands of people since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Khamenei's comments come as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Iraq and the Obama administration has said it wants to engage Iran after a 30-year diplomatic deadlock.
Clinton responded to Khamenei's allegations, saying it was "disappointing for anyone to make such a claim since it is clearly traced to the al-Qaida remnants and other violent groups who wish to disrupt the progress of Iraq."
"I condemn these violent recent efforts to disrupt the progress that Iraq is making," Clinton said, claiming the attacks were a sign that extremists are afraid Iraq's government is succeeding.
But she said the response by the government and its people was "firm and united in rejecting that violence and refusing to allow it to set Iraqi against Iraqi, which is obviously one of its intended goals."
Iran has sent mixed messages to Washington in response to President Barack Obama's overtures.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran was ready to forget the past and start a new relationship - but he also called Israel a racist country and blamed the US invasion of Iraq on a Zionist conspiracy.
US president Barack Obama has been trying a different approach to Teheran by offering to engage in dialogue with the Iranians, who have sent conflicting signals back to Washington.
On Monday at a UN anti-racism conference, Ahmadinejad called Israel the "most cruel and repressive racist regime," prompting diplomats from every European Union country to walk out.