Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday blamed the United States for instability in the Middle East and said Washington's fight against the Islamic State militant group was "a lie".
"You (the United States) and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East...who created Islamic State? America ... America's claim of fighting against Islamic State is a lie," Khamenei said in a meeting with high-ranking Iranian officials, according to his official website.
Iran's Supreme Leader also cautioned Iranian government officials to "use past experience", which would guide them "not to trust America".
Khamenei has made several statements denouncing the United States since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and the May 19 Iranian presidential elections.
The incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani, called for improved relations with other countries during the electoral campaign and won 57 percent of the vote. Many Iranians desire an end to the country's pariah status and relative isolation.
After the election, Rouhani has openly contradicted Khamenei's hard-line statements on the foreign policy course the country should take.
It is interesting that the official Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, did not have Khamenei's Monday evening remarks as one of its headlines, while news websites close to hard-liners carried it as their top story on Tuesday morning. IRNA is controlled by the Rouhani government and rarely fails to highlight a speech by Khamenei.
In what seemed to be coordination from the very top, Iranian officials have accused the United States and its regional ally Saudi Arabia of funding hardline Sunni militants, including Islamic State, which carried out its first attacks in Iran on June 7 in Tehran, killing 17 people.
Riyadh has denied involvement in the suicide bombings and gun attacks on Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who favors opening up to the world, has condemned the attacks, without pointing a finger at any country.
Rouhani, who is regarded as a pragmatic politician, signed a nuclear deal with the world's major powers but that has not led to normalization of ties between the U.S. and Iran.
Khamenei has indicated time and again that he has no intention of normalizing ties with the United States.
"The American government is against an independent Iran ... They have problems with the existence of Islamic Republic of Iran...Most of our problems with them cannot be resolved," Fars news agency quoted him as saying.
Khamenei's hardline loyalists, drawn from among Islamists and the Revolutionary Guards, fear that normalization of ties with the United States might weaken their position.
"America is a terrorist country and backs terrorism ... therefore, we cannot normalize ties with such country," he said.