MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami has accused US and Israel of being largely responsible for the rise of extremism in the Middle East.
"Extremism [in the region] is the result of the US policies and war on terrorism is just a pretext by the White House statesmen to gain control over the Islamic territories and their resources," Hatami said, as quoted by the FARS news agency.
According to the defense minister, the United States and Israel are allegedly biggest and the most dangerous supporters of terrorism in the region.
US is Tehran's 'Number One' Enemy — Iran's Supreme Leader
Iran currently has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel or the United States. Most recently, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Washington Iran's "main enemy" in response to harsh criticism by US President Donald Trump, who had called Iran "a terrorist nation like few others."
Trump's accusations were followed by White House's announcement of new sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the same day over their alleged support of terrorism, a claim strongly refuted by Tehran that pledged to "strongly respond to any action against its military forces." According to Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baker, labelling the IRGC a "terrorist group" would mean Washington itself supports terrorists.
Most recently, the Iraniandeputy foreign minister, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, has reiterated Tehran's stance on Washington's move, saying that Tehran will not leave the nuclear agreement first, but preparing itself for every scenario.