Senior Iranian officials call ISIS 'American proteges,' warn of imminent Saudi demise

Addressing worshipers in Tehran, Iranian leaders decried Saudi Arabia's "blood bath" in Yemen and warned the US of deceitful behavior in negotiations over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

April 18, 2015 08:06
3 minute read.

Iran marks the 36th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. (photo credit: screenshot)


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On the heels of the escalating conflict in Yemen and an emerging deal with the international community, Iran's political and military elite have not cooled their fiery rhetoric, laying the blame for regional crises on the US and Saudi adversaries.

According to FARS news, while addressing an audience at Tehran University on Friday, Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, put the onus for the transnational turmoil wrought by Sunni jihadists on Washington, declaring that  "the ISIL (Islamic State), Boko Haram and al-Nusra have been created in line with the US strategy of religion against religion which seeks to impair the divine face of Islam."

Without fail, Pourdistan also linked the White House's alleged conjuring of global jihadism to its support for Israel, suggesting that "the American and European people's high tendency towards...[the] protection of the Zionist regime's security have caused the US to create the terrorist groups."

Pourdistan seemed to echo remarks made by another senior Iranian official, the Supreme Leader Khamenei's adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, who had called the Islamic State "American Proteges" who "don't differentiate between Muslims sects" and prove themselves to be tools of Israel since they "show no enmity towards the Zionist regime".

As Pourdistan doled out his dose of rhetorical scolding against the US and Israel, another senior Iranian figure, the Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahhedi Kermani, turned his attention to the Islamic Republic's Sunni foe across the gulf.

Possibly speaking to the same audience, Kermani told the faithful gathered for Friday prayers in Tehran that Saudi actions in Yemen had shown their "imprudence", "disgrace" and that recent development show that the House of Saud is teetering on the brink of destruction.

According to Iran's state owned Press TV news service, Kermani asserted that Riyadh's nearly month long bombing campaign has "triggered a bloodbath in Yemen" that has killed, according to the Ayatollah, "2,500 innocent people", a figure that contrasts with numbers provided by the UN's deputy secretary-general for human rights. In an interview with al-Jazeera earlier this month, the UN official suggested that only some 600 people, half of which were civilians have perished in the conflict waged between the Saudi led coalition and the Iranian back Shi'ite Houthi militia who are posed to take over the country.

Kermani did not hesitate to further involve religion into the already sectarian conflict between the two Islamic adversaries, demanding that the Saudi Monarchy abide by Quranic dictum on war if they truly believed in the scripture of the holy book.

Kermani, perhaps unable to resist a parting shot at the White House, also warned the US against what he suggested maybe deceitful behavior regarding the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Tehran and P5+1 countries.

Both sides are to draft a final agreement by June and while Karmani did not specify what trickery he suspected Washington of engaging in, it may involve suspicions that the US may try to use Iran's own aggressive stance in the region - it's involvement in Syria, Iraq and Yemen- as a diplomatic bargaining chip.

In March US President Barack Obama delivered a message of support to Saudi Arabia's newly crowned King Salman, lending approval to Riyadh's interventionist policies in Yemen, long a battle-field for Washington's controversial drone campaign against al-Qaida militants.

Yet the ongoing turmoil has forced the US to freeze its operations in Yemen, a setback that the Saudi effort may be able to reverse. The return of deposed pro-Western president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi would not only allow the US to resume its airborne missions in the Arabian peninsula's poorest country, it would also minimize Iran's expansion into Saudi Arabia's backdoor.  

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