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Iran's top leader accuses U.S. of promoting terrorism, religious division in Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s supreme leader on Friday accused the United States of promoting terrorism and religious division in Iraq and called Jordan’s king one of Washington’s “dependent” rulers. “The reality there (in Iraq) is occupiers who intervene in all Iraqi internal affairs. … Worse and more dangerous is that, based on plenty of evidence, they (Americans) promote terrorism in Iraq in the name of Shiite and Sunni Islam,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told thousands of worshippers in Tehran.

Khamenei did not elaborate or provide details about how Washington has promoted terrorism.

The United States accuses the predominantly Shiite Islamic republic of interfering in Iraq and sending money and infiltrators across its porous 1,600 kilometer (1,000 mile) border to support the insurgency there. Tehran has denied the charges and says it has no interest in sparking instability in Iraq.

“They (the U.S.) follow the policy of pitting the Iraqi people against the Iraqi people. They want to sow pessimism among Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Our Iraqi brothers are in dire need of unity,” Khamenei said in his Friday prayer sermon at Tehran University.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has sought closer ties with Iran and to heal scars left by the 1980-88 war that killed more than 1 million people on both sides. In July 2005, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari made a landmark visit to Iran, the first by an Iraqi premier since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam.

In September, Iran also gave Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a red carpet’s welcome, vowing to support stability and security in the Shiite-led neighboring country.

During his prayer sermon, Khamenei also accused Jordan’s King Abdullah II of being one of Washington’s “dependent” rulers who has acted as a loudspeaker for the United States in provoking Mideast division.

“One day they speak through the language of their dependents of a Shiite crescent … Oh Sunnis, why have you sit down? Rise up. Shiites are dominating (the region),” Khamenei said.

King Abdullah II angered many Iranians in 2004 when he warned that Tehran was seeking to create “a Shiite crescent” from Iran to Lebanon that would disrupt the region’s balance of power. The king, a Sunni like most Arabs, later said he was not opposed to Shiites. “They raise these issues to frighten Sunni people and governments. … This is their plan. We have to be vigilante and awaken. We should not allow the enemy to penetrate through this policy,” Khamenei said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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