Responding to a letter written by the IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Supreme Leader announced that eliminating the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Iraq and Syria was a service to humanity.
“The elimination of Daesh (ISIS) Takfiri (infidel) terrorists from Iraq and Syria was a service to all humanity and a blow both to the terrorist group and its creators and supporters, including the United States,” ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
According to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, Khamenei said on November 21 that eliminating IS was not only a blow to the group but “a stronger blow to the evil policy that was aimed at fomenting civil war in the region, weakening independent governments, and destroying the Resistance Front against Israel. The latter is a term employed by Iranian leaders to describe Syria under Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese Hezbollah, and a number of armed Palestinian groups
“It also dealt a blow to the current and former U.S. governments and their vassal regimes in the region who created the terrorist group and provided it with full support to expand their dominance in the Middle East and help the occupying Zionist regime (Israel) dominate the region,” local media cited Khamenei as saying.
Khamenei has repeatedly maintained that the United States and other Western countries created IS and supported it to spread their “ominous dominance in the region and lay the groundwork for Israel’s the supremacy over the whole region.”
Iranian officials have also accused Saudi Arabia of creating IS.
Khamenei repeated his allegations even though IS has been under heavy bombardment by coalition forces led by the United States. The bombardments were so effective that U.S.-backed Syrian armed groups recently managed to liberate Raqqa, the self-declared capital city of IS.
In the past, Khamenei also asserted that he had rejected the United States’ request for Tehran’s cooperation in neutralizing IS.
“During the very first days of IS’s emergence in Iraq, the Americans, through their ambassador in Baghdad, requested our cooperation in confronting IS, but I rejected it since their hands were defiled,” Khamenei had said in 2014.
In his response to Soleimani, Khamenei cautioned, “Those who made a huge investment in creating Daesh would try to re-hatch their evil plots in another part of the region or in other forms; therefore, the enemy’s deceit should not be ignored.”
In his letter, Soleimani had declared the defeat of IS “its flag had been brought down in Abu Kamal and replaced with Syria’s.”
Abu Kamal, the last stronghold of IS, is located on eastern part of Syria close to the Iraq border.
The operation for the liberation of Abu Kamal left five Iranians, including two IRGC top commanders, dead. Reportedly, Soleimani had personally led the operation.
Tehran and Moscow are close allies of Syria, where a civil war has been raging since 2011, when popular protests began against Assad’s rule.
The peaceful rallies soon turned into armed clashes after military and security forces led by Assad brutally suppressed the protesters.
Soleimani’s declaration of the end of IS comes at a time when Iran is insisting its role in the Syrian conflict goes no further than deploying military advisers at the request of Damascus.
However, U.S. officials have repeatedly criticized Tehran’s military involvement in Syria and Iraq, describing it as detrimental to stability and peace in the region.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama went even further, saying Tehran and Moscow were responsible for the massacre of civilians in Aleppo.
Meanwhile, several analysts inside Iran say it was Soleimani’s mismanagement and the destructive role played by the Quds Force in the region that led to the creation of IS.
A prominent dissident inside Iran, Mehdi Khazali, said last year, “If Soleimani were not present in Syria, there would have been no IS.”