S. Leader: ISIL Backbone Broken by Iraqi People, Army Not By US

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The Iranian Supreme Leader said listening to the US claims about its war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was much fun for him when he was hospitalized for his recent surgery, adding that both Washington and the ISIL know well that the terrorist group has been defeated by the Iraqi people and army and not by the US.

“During the days I was at the hospital, I had fun listening to the remarks of the US officials on fighting Daesh (ISIL),” Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said in an interview with Iran’s state-run TV on Monday as he left the hospital after a successful prostate surgery.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the US officials’ allegations about fighting the ISIL as hollow and biased, and said the US disappointment at Iran’s partnership in its incorrect and illegal coalition is an “unrivaled honor” for Tehran.

Ayatollah Khamenei elaborated on some details of the US demands for Iran’s cooperation in forming the anti-ISIL coalition, and said, “During the hard days of Daesh’s attacks on Iraq, the US ambassador to Iraq demanded our envoy in the country (Iraq) that Iran and the US meet for negotiations and coordination on Daesh. Our ambassador reflected the issue to Iran and although some officials didn’t voice opposition, I opposed it and said we will not cooperate with the Americans in this regard since they have a corrupt intention and stained hands and how could we have cooperation with the Americans under such conditions.”

He referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks that his country won’t invite Iran to the anti-ISIL coalition, and said, “The same US secretary of state had personally demanded (Iranian Foreign Minister) Dr. (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, and called for cooperation with us on Daesh but Dr. Zarif had rejected his demand.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also revealed that “the US deputy secretary of state (Wendy Sherman) repeated the same demand for cooperation with Iran against the ISIL during the talks with her Iranian counterpart Seyed Abbas Araqchi, and the Iranian deputy foreign minister refused it”.

He underscored Iran’s firm and explicit opposition to cooperation with the US in fighting the ISIL, and said, “Now they are telling a lie that they won’t accept Iran in the coalition because Iran had announced its opposition to its presence in such a coalition since the very beginning.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said that the US and its allies had earlier formed “a coalition of several countries against Syria, but they couldn’t do a damn thing”, and ensured that the same failure will be repeated with regard to Iraq.

Reiterating that the Americans are not serious about fighting the ISIL, he said, “The Americans and even Daesh are well aware that the move which broke Daesh’s backbone in Iraq was not the US action but the acts of the popular forces and the Iraqi army who had well learned the ways to fight Daesh and inflicted heavy damages on the group.”

He underscored that the Iraqi popular forces and army’s blows to the ISIL will continue, and said, “The reality is that the Americans are seeking an excuse to do the same actions in Iraq and Syria that they are doing in Pakistan, where they trespass on the country’s territory without any permission, despite the existence of a sovereign government and a powerful army (in Pakistan), and bomb different parts.”

“The Americans should know that if they do this, the same problems that were created on their way in the past ten years in Iraq will be created for them again,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

NATO heads of state convened in the Welsh city of Newport on 4-5 September and US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told foreign and defense ministers participating in the NATO summit that the US was forming a broad international coalition against ISIL.

Ministers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark met in Wales to hammer out a strategy for battling ISIL, but the policy was questioned by many regional officials and political leaders.

After the so-called US-led coalition against the ISIL declared its creation, Iran lashed out at the western states for pursuing a double-standard policy towards campaign against terrorism in various countries.

“Iran believes in a real and nonselective fight against terrorism in the region and the world,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Saturday.

Amir Abdollahian stressed that the Islamic Republic was the first country to assist Iraq in the fight against terrorism.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister also stated that Tehran will continue to fully support Iraq and Syria in the battle against terrorism.

Also, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Saturday questioned the goals pursued by the US-led anti-ISIL coalition, and said Washington sought to violate the regional countries’ sovereignty.

“The US attempts to create an anti-terrorism coalition in collaboration with certain states which are themselves the main sponsors and suppliers of the terrorists are suspicious and lack transparency,” Shamkhani said, addressing a gathering of Iranian clerics in the Central city of Qom.

“The US seeks to continue its unilateralism and violate the countries’ sovereignty under the pretext of fighting terrorism,” he added.

Shamkhani underlined that Washington was also attempting to distract the world attention from the pivotal role that the US and its allies had played in the establishment, equipment and development of the terrorist groups under the pretext of overthrowing the legal government in Syria.

He said the United States’ move to form an anti-ISIL coalition was more like a Hollywood scenario to portray the US as a savior of the region.

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