Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
(photo credit: HO - / IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER'S WEBSITE / AFP)
Iran rejected terrorism charges raised against it in an annual US State Department report, Iranian media outlets reported on Sunday, with a top official accusing Washington of backing Islamic State and the “Zionist regime.”
“Today, the US is using Islamic State as an instrument and defends the Zionist regime, but puts Iran on the list of terrorists because the Islamic Republic has stood against and confronted their main strategy and hegemony,” Ali Shamkhani told reporters in Tehran on Sunday.
“But this will not affect the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies in defending the regional states, and it shows the West’s double-standard policy on terrorism,” he added, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying: “The legitimate struggle of nations that are occupied... are not examples of terrorism, and such charges in the American report are rejected.”
Ansari in turn condemned “US military interference and destructive support for terrorist groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen,” the agency said.
As in previous years, the State Department report cited Iran as the world’s biggest state-sponsor of terrorism, saying Tehran supported conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and was implicated in violent Shi’ite opposition raids in Bahrain.
Separately on Sunday, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged a harsh response to “hostile” US moves, the Tasnim News Agency reported.
He argued during a meeting with newly elected lawmakers in Tehran that if the “enemy” feels the other side is weak, it will make more excessive demands.Reuters contributed to this report.