The Supreme Leader appeared to bury any prospect of Iran-US cooperation over Iraq’s crisis on Sunday.
Ayatollah Khamenei told senior judiciary officials:
We strongly oppose the intervention of the U.S. and others in the domestic affairs of Iraq.
The main dispute in Iraq is between those who want Iraq to join the U.S. camp and those who seek an independent Iraq. The U.S. aims to bring its own blind followers to power since the U.S. is not happy about the current government in Iraq….
We believe that the Iraqi government, nation, and religious authority are capable of ending this sedition and will end it, God willing,
The Supreme Leader’s statement completed more than a week of backlash against the Rouhani Government, which had invited Washington to work with Iran in checking the rapid insurgent advance in northern and western Iraq. Senior officials — including Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani; the head of Iran’s armed forces; and the Secretary of the National Security Council — responded by accusing the US of fostering the Iraqi insurgency, including the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham.
Rouhani effectively conceded defeat on Sunday, replacing any overture to the US with the denunciation that some countries “feed terrorists by their petrodollars”:
We stress and advise all Muslim states and all those who unfortunately help the terrorists with their money and petro dollars to know that it will be their turn tomorrow….The barbarous terrorists will go after supporters of terrorism in the future.
The change in Presidential rhetoric not only put the US at arm’s length but also threatened his attempt at rapprochement with Saudi Arabia.
In his Sunday statement, the Supreme Leader — echoing appeals by Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani — called for all Iraqis to unify in defense of the country and to avoid sectarian conflict.
He then added another jab at the US: “What is happening in Iraq is not a war between Shias and Sunnis, but actually part of a plot by the hegemonic powers.”
MP Calls for Prosecution of Ahmadinejad
Gholamali Jafarzadeh, a member of Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, has called for the indictment of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“We must not have any fear of prosecuting the former government,” Jafarzadeh said; “Ahmadinejad must be held accountable for all his actions and scores of offences committed by his government.”
The MP claims the Government had illegally diverted revenues, as Ahmadinejad did “whatever he wanted with the National Development Fund”, and said that the President left about 5,000 projects on hold and unfinished.
Jafarzadeh said the cost of the misdeeds to Iran was 70 trillion Rials (about $2.5 billion).
Sentenced Analyst Zibakalam Still Featured in Iranian Media
Prominent analyst Sadegh Zibakalam, handed an 18-month prison sentence last week, is still being featured in Iranian outlet.
Mehr News posts an interview with Zibakalam on the latest nuclear discussions between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, in which the political scientist says, “We could not say that nuclear talks have failed totally; I may use the metaphor of a group of mountaineers who have faced a relatively impassable block of hard rock.”
Zibakalam identifies the chief obstacles to an agreement as the level and number of Iran’s centrifuges and the US-led sanctions on Tehran.
However, he is firm in his support of the negotiations — “Iran and (the 5+1) Powers are serious in their job” — and maintains that it is in the Islamic Republic’s interest to get an agreement.
Zibalakam was sentenced to prison last week for “defending the efforts of the government for resolving the country’s nuclear issue” and questioning the judiciary over verdicts in its prosecution of a $2.6 billion bank fraud.