US Behind Persistence of ISIL Threat: Iran’s FM

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif linked the rise of Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group to the US invasion of Iraq, and denounced Washington for the dangerous policies that have kept the threat of terrorism alive, such as the evacuation of Daesh militants from Syria.

Addressing a political science conference in Tehran on Saturday, Foreign Minister Zarif said although the Daesh terrorist group has been defeated on the ground, its ideology persists.

“The ideological and financial resources and the capacities creating Daesh, both regional and trans-regional, have not been destroyed and still persist,” Zarif deplored, saying Daesh was born after the US invasion of Iraq and was also a result of the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

He also warned against the “dangerous” US move to regularly evacuate Daesh militants from various regions such as Syria’s Hasakah, Mayadin, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere.

Pointing to the persistence of Daesh links and leaders and the steady financial supports for the terrorists, Zarif said one should expect to see the threat resurface at any time.

“One of the major Western mistakes is that they believe Daesh has been over,” the Iranian minister noted, saying the West has taken a tougher line on Iran with the wrong notion that there is no need to compromise with Tehran after the fall of Daesh.

Daesh militants made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing large areas of Syria.

But the timely support by Iran helped Syria and Iraq fight off Daesh. In addition, formation of military units by volunteers in Iraq, known as Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Units, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive and later made the terror group withdraw from much of the territories it had occupied.

In November 2017, Daesh terrorists were flushed out of their last stronghold in Syria’s Al-Bukamal. The city’s liberation marked an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate it had declared in 2014.

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