Iran continued lashing out at the United States and Saudi Arabia following last Wednesday’s gun and bomb attacks against the Parliament and the Ayatollah Khomeini shrine in Tehran, in which a dozen people were killed.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif became the latest Iranian official to claim archrival Saudi Arabia is sponsoring militant groups inside Iran, while a top military official claimed Iran has proof the United States supports the Islamic State (ISIS).
“We have intelligence that Saudi Arabia is actively engaged in promoting terrorist groups on the eastern side of Iran, in Baluchistan,” Zarif claimed in a news conference from Oslo, Norway.
“On the Western side, the same type of activity is being undertaken, again abusing the diplomatic hospitality of our other neighbor,” Zarif added, somewhat mysteriously.
The foreign minister also criticized President Donald Trump for describing Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“President Trump is trying to change the nationality post-mortem of 15 of the 19 September 11 suicide bombers, or of every other suicide bomber that attacked U.S. soil or any Western country over the past 20 years,” Zarif complained. “They did not come from Iran. None. Why is he trying to change history? We are not intimidated by these moves.”
Trump did not actually claim the 9/11 attackers were Iranian in the remarks to which Zarif alluded. He condemned the attack on Tehran and expressed condolences for the “innocent victims, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” then added, “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s Fars news agency quoted Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mostafa Izadi, who claimed that Iran has “documents and information showing the direct supports by the US imperialism for this highly disgusting stream in the region which has destroyed the Islamic countries and created a wave of massacres and clashes.” The “highly disgusting stream” he referred to is the Islamic State.
Speaking at a funeral service for victims of the Tehran attacks, Izadi claimed the United States uses ISIS for “proxy warfare in the region” and denounced the tactic as “a new trick by the arrogant powers” against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Reporting on Izadi’s remarks, the UK Daily Mail noted that Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larjani made a similar accusation on Friday, claiming that the United States has “aligned itself with ISIL in the region.”
He insisted U.S. sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile research were counterproductive because Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force are “the most important regional forces fighting terrorists.”
In truth, the Quds Force is Iran’s all-star terrorist squad, tasked with destabilizing foreign governments and supporting known terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The Trump administration has been thinking about formally designating the Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization.
Writing at the Washington Examiner on Monday, Iranian human rights activist Amir Basiri called a pox on the houses of both Iran and the Islamic State, arguing that “the symbiotic relationship between the Iranian regime and the Islamic State has always prevented them from making any moves that would threaten the other’s existence.”
To that end, he cites reports that Iranian forces are “deconflicting and colluding with Islamic State forces in Syria in order to weak opposition forces.”
Basiri suggests the rapid growth of the Islamic State was due in part to Sunni Muslims’ fear of Iran-backed Shiite militia groups in Iraq. Conversely, Iran will find the brutal ISIS attacks in Tehran a convenient excuse to crack down on dissent, much as it exploited the rise of ISIS as an excuse to “openly intervene in the Syrian conflict and shore up the Assad regime against opposition forces.”
“ISIS’ conduct clearly benefits the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, who wholeheartedly welcomes it as an opportunity to overcome his regime’s regional and international impasse and isolation. The founder and the Number One state sponsor of terror is thus trying to switch the place of murderer and victim, and portray the central banker of terrorism as a victim,” said opposition Maryam Rajavi, as quoted by Basiri.
Basiri recommends nothing less than “the eviction of the Iranian regime and the Revolutionary Guards from the region and the total dismantling of its terrorist proxies” before the swamp of international terrorism can be drained.