Iran’s Supreme Leader has accused the US of being behind the establishment of the Islamic State.

Five days after ISIS’s first major attack in Tehran, and amid growing regime concern over the prospect of additional US sanctions, Ayatollah Khamenei told high-ranking officials on Monday, “The [US] claims of establishing an anti-Daesh coalition are lies.” He asserted that the US is only against an “uncontrolled Daesh” and will oppose anybody who tries to “destroy the Takfiri terrorists”.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, reinforced Khamenei’s line: “The U.S. and the Zionist regime supported these [terrorists]. We have detailed information that, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has supported the terrorists as well as demanded them to carry out operations in Iran.”

Khamenei also maintained Iran’s campaign against the US and Saudi Arabia, spurred by Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh in late May and the announcement of $110 billion in American arms to Riyadh: “It is really ridiculous for the US, standing next to the tribal and medieval Saudis, to talk about human rights in a place which has no notion of democracy, and to accuse Iran which is the emblem of democracy.”

The Pressure of Sanctions

Iran is facing a series of challenges in the region. In addition to a Saudi Arabia bolstered by renewed US political and military support, Tehran is trying to deal with a Syrian crisis in which the pro-Assad forces whom it is supporting — and sometimes leading — may soon be fighting rebels backed by Washington.

However, the catalyst for rising concern is last week’s move by the US Senate towards extended sanctions, based on Iran’s ballistic missile testing, its supposed support for “terrorism”, and its human rights record. The American legislature has closed debate on the measures and is due to vote on them this week.

Even though the additional sanctions are largely symbolic — last month Donald Trump quietly signed the extension of a waiver of Congressional measures — they could reinforce the concerns of European firms about making trade and investment deals that Iran needs for economic recovery.

On Sunday and Monday, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the Foreign Ministry all showed their concern. Zarif said, as he arrived in Norway for the Oslo Forum, “The US Senate sanctions bill against Iran shows the Americans’ shortsightedness and follows the same wrong policy that the US government has adopted, especially after the recent election.”

Ayatollah Khamenei told officials yesterday, “In the face of such enmities, a new atmosphere of cooperation and hard work must be established for reaching our common goal which is the country’s progress and the promotion of the Islamic Republic.”

Khamenei called on the Government to monitor the implementation of the July 2015 nuclear agreement, repeating that the US cannot be trusted. And he again ruled out any discussions with Washington on issues beyond the deal: “Some of the problems with the US are essentially unresolvable as the US’s problem with us has nothing to do with nuclear energy or human rights, their problem is with the principle of the Islamic Republic.”

Zarif: Saudis Promoting Terrorists

Speaking at the Oslo Forum, Foreign Minister Zarif stepped up the rhetorical campaign against Saudi Arabia, asserting, “We have intelligence that Saudi Arabia is actively engaged in promoting terrorist groups.”

Zarif told the international gathering, including the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, that the Saudi-backed “terrorists” are propping up “terrorists” along Iranian eastern and western borders.

He implicitly linked the claim to last Wednesday’s attacks by the Islamic State inside Tehran, citing a “direct threat and very dangerous provocation” by Riyadh.

The war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who broke relations with Tehran in January 2016, was stepped up last month when Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said that any battles would be inside Iran. The Islamic Republic’s officials, including the Supreme Leader, responded with a stream of denunciations of the Saudi monarchy, saying the leadership is “un-Islamic” and tied to Israel as well as the US.

Supreme Leader’s Top Aide: Iran Will Not Tolerate Saudi “Warmongering”

Ali Akbar Velayati, the top aide to the Supreme Leader, has said that Iran will not tolerate Saudi Arabia’s warmongering policies in the region.

Velayati assured that the Saudis lack the courage and capacity to inflict any blow upon Iran, but if they try, the Islamic Republic will respond.

He maintained:

The Saudis can’t provide even their own security. They waste lots of Muslims’ resources to press ahead with their retarded projects. They invited the US president to Riyadh and made whatever they had in power to create an anti-terror alliance. But as we saw the alliance consisted only of a small number of kingdoms, which owe a huge debt to Saudi Arabia.