DUBAI: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed strong opposition on Sunday to intervention in Iraq by the United States or anyone else, saying Iraqis themselves could bring an end to violence there, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Khamenei, who has the last word on all matters of state, added in remarks to judiciary officials that Washington aimed to keep Iraq under its control and place its own stooges in power. The conflict there was not sectarian, but was really between those who wanted Iraq in the U.S. camp and those who sought Iraq’s independence, IRNA reported. “We are strongly opposed to U.S. and other (countries’) intervention in Iraq,” IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying. “We don’t approve of it, as we believe the Iraqi government, nation and religious authorities are capable of ending the sedition. And God willing, they will do so.”
U.S. President Barack Obama on June 19 offered up to 300 Americans to help coordinate the fight against rapid advances by the Sunni militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has captured swatches of northern Iraq this month. But he held off granting a request for air strikes from the Shi’ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. “America is not pleased with the ongoing (political) process in Iraq, meaning the wide participation in the elections and selecting their own choice (of representatives), as the U.S. is seeking an Iraq under its hegemony and ruled by its stooges,” Khamenei was quoted as saying, referring to an Iraqi parliamentary election in April.
Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned on Sunday that Muslim states which funnel petrodollars to jihadist Sunni fighters wreaking havoc in Iraq will become their next target.
Rouhani did not name any country, but officials and media in mainly Shiite Iran have hinted that insurgents from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are being financially and militarily supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “I advise Muslim countries that support the terrorists with their petrodollars to stop,” Rouhani said in remarks reported by the website of Iran’s state broadcaster.
“Tomorrow you will be targeted... by these savage terrorists. Wash your hands of killing and the killing of Muslims,” he added. ISIL militants have seized a swathe of Iraqi territory in a lightning offensive, with the Baghdad government’s security forces hard-pressed to prevent the advance. Riyadh has warned that Iran-ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is steering Iraq towards civil war through policies that exclude the country’s Sunni minority. Iran, the predominant Shiite powerhouse in the Middle East, says it will support Maliki against ISIL, which is also battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, another Tehran ally.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he was against any foreign intervention in Iraq, accusing the United States of seeking to “take advantage of fanatics with no will of their own,” referring to ISIL. Khamenei reiterated Iranian declarations that the Maliki government “has the ability to stop this plot, with collective efforts that include the people. “This is not a Shiite versus Sunni war, unlike what American officials say,” he said in comments published on his website, blaming — without giving further details — the US for “disrupting (Iraq’s) stability and threatening its territorial integrity.”
Rouhani meanwhile called for unity between “Shiites and Sunnis who are brothers”.”For centuries, Shiites and Sunnis have lived alongside each other in Iran, Iraq, the Levant, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf and North Africa... in peaceful coexistence,” he said. Since ISIL began its Iraq offensive, Tehran has urged Iraqis to unite against the jihadists.
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