Iran’s leader slams ‘modern day jahaliya’

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TEHRAN- Iran will help oppressed people in the region, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei said, days after rulers of Tehran’s Arab neighbours met U.S. President Barack Obama and expressed their concern about rising Iranian influence.

Sayed Khamenei also denounced Saudi Arabia for its role leading a coalition of Arab states against impoverished Yemen, comparing it to the pagans who ruled the Arabian Peninsula before the advent of Islam in the seventh century.

Supreme leaders speech to a gathering of top Iranian officials and ambassadors of Muslim countries in Tehran over weekend  brought the issues of political and religious legitimacy squarely into the struggle between the two regional powers.

“Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine are oppressed, and we protect oppressed people as much as we can,” he said.

“Those people who bring suffering to Yemeni families during sacred months are even worse than the ancient pagans of Mecca,” he said at the event for the holiday of Lailat al-Miraj, when Prophet Mohammad ascended to heavens.

Rulers of Persian Gulf litroal states met with Obama on Thursday to express their concern about growing Iranian influence in the region, parallel to nuclear negotiations under way with world powers.

The U.S. backs the Saudi-led coalition waging the military campaign against the Yemen. 

Coming down heavily on washington, Ayatollah Khamenei said the United States was masterminding terrorism.

“The US is the designer and supporter of terrorism,” he said. 

Ayatollah said that the US has formed and backed the most dangerous terrorist groups such as the ISIS, saying, “It is supporting the fake terrorist Zionist regime.”

He stated that security in the Persian Gulf is beneficial to all and emphasized, “If [it] is insecure, it will be insecure for all.”

He said all countries in the Persian Gulf region shoulder the responsibility to ensure regional security.

“The US seeks its own interests and will make the [Persian Gulf] region insecure, if needed,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei then warned against the wicked policies of hegemonic powers in the region, saying some Muslim countries have been deceived into fomenting insecurity and killing people in Yemen.

Iranian leader also said “these wicked policies” are aimed at waging proxy wars.

MODERN DAY IGNORANCE

The current situation in Muslim countries, insecurity, fratricide, and terror groups’ securing their domination over the regional nations are examples of modern ignorance, which has been orchestrated by hegemonic powers led by the US.

“They (hegemonic powers) also use widespread propaganda based on lies in order to achieve their evil objectives and secure their own interests, an example of which is the Americans’ claim of fighting terrorism,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s experience over the past 35 years has shown that the great Islamic Ummah is able to stand up to this ignorance and defeat it through two main principles of prudence and resolve,” the Leader noted.

“Nations and rulers of Muslim countries! You should know that we are capable of standing against this ignorance,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

GULF SHIPPING

The standoff has raised concerns for shipping in the Gulf, a transit route for millions of barrels of oil per day. In the past month, Iranian forces have twice tried to seize commercial ships to settle legal disputes.

“Security in the Persian Gulf is in the interests of everyone… If it is insecure, it will be insecure for all,” Khamenei said, indicating Iran’s apparent willingness to cause disruption if attacked.

Tensions have also reached the Gulf of Aden, another crucial choke point for oil shipments, after Iran on Monday dispatched a relief laden ship towards Yemen under military escort.

Forces from the Saudi-led coalition have imposed inspections on all vessels entering Yemeni waters, raising the potential for a standoff with the Iranian flotilla which is due to arrive in the coming days. 

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