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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Iran blames 'errors' of outsiders for rise of ISIS

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2014 in New York City (AFP)

Iran President Hassan Rouhani blamed the rise of the Islamic State group and other militants on "certain intelligence agencies", saying the solution to stopping them must come from the Middle East region itself and not the West.

"The extremists of the world have found each other and have put out the call, 'extremists of the world unite'. But are we united against the extremists?" Rouhani asked in a speech to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly today.

The comments are among the strongest yet by predominantly Shi'ite Iran on the rise of the Sunni militant group and suggest arch-foes Iran and the United States have a shared interest in confronting the threat after decades of enmity.

They follow a back-and-forth between Tehran and Washington over what role Iran can play in the US-led campaign against Islamic State militants who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria. Iranian officials have even suggested Western powers should lower their demands in nuclear talks with Tehran helping confront the militants.

Despite Iran's obvious interest in seeing the militants neutralized, Rouhani made clear his suspicions about the long-term impact of Western military intervention in the Middle East.

In a thinly veiled reference to the United States and Israel, Rouhani blamed the rise of violent extremists on outsiders. "Certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hand of madmen, who now spare no one," Rouhani said.

"All those who have played a role in founding and supporting these terror groups must acknowledge their errors," he said.

A day earlier, US President Barack Obama used the UN podium to state his case for a more forceful, coordinated global response against Islamic State that would seek to dismantle what he called a "network of death."

But Rouhani suggested that the United States and its allies were the problem, not the solution, and should let Middle Eastern governments deal with the threat.

"The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists," he said.

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Tags:  World  Iran  UNGA  US  ISIS  Rouhani  





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