As reported by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s own website and Fars news, at a conference in Tehran on Monday, Khamenei accused ISIS, all other Sunnis, and Sunni governments which battle any pro-Iranian Arab regimes and Shia militias of diverting Muslims away from fighting Israel.
"The forefront of Muslims' struggle in the region was focused on the occupied Palestine [sic]," Khamenei wrote, "but the Takfiri stream changed this front line, and moved it into the streets and cities of Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Libya." This, he stated, "is one of the Takfiri stream's crimes which cannot be forgotten."
Khamenei summed up his position in a simultaneously released info-graphic that reads, “Takfirism diverted the struggle from the liberation of Palestine to the war among Muslims in Iraq and Syria.”
“Takfiri” is a word used to describe a radical stream of Sunni Islamic jihadis who view anyone who disagrees with their views - including other Sunni Muslims - as non-Muslims or heretics deserving of death. Shia leaders such as Khamenei and others often use the term as a pejorative against their Sunni Muslim enemies in general.
Khamenei further explained that, the "Takfiri" stream – that is, the Sunnis – and the governments that support it (principally Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States) takes its cues from the goals of the "arrogant powers," meaning the US, the European governments and Israel, and “are practically at their service under an Islamic disguise."
Khamenei explained that even ISIS is not the root problem. "It is noted that the primary matter is total confrontation with takfiri movements that encompasses more than the group called ISIS. ISIS in reality is a manifestation of this treacherous movement."
Then, of course, Khamenei turned his attention to Israel. Despite Israel’s liberation of and total military control over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in 1967, over 45 years ago, he exhorted that, "The Zionist regime [Israel] is seeking to capture Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock and weaken Palestinians. All Islamic nations and the ulama [the educated classes] must request their governments to pursue the Palestinian matter."
To show how non-sectarian Iran is when it comes to arming terrorist groups, Khamenei added, "The Islamic Republic of Iran, with divine grace, has not become prisoner of sectarian limitations and divisions. Just as it aids Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon it aids [the Sunni] Hamas and [the Sunni] Islamic Jihad and other Sunni groups in Palestine and will continue this aid."
Khamenei closed with what has been a constant theme of late: "Just as it was said earlier, the West Bank must be armed [like Gaza], and ready to defend. This will be certainly done [by the Iran]."
It should be noted that, since 1984, Iran has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a "State Sponsor of Terrorism." Under such a designation, in addition to all of the U.S. sanctions under U.S. Iran-specific sanctions laws, Iran is enmeshed in four other independent categories of extensive U.S. sanctions that would be extremely difficult for President Barack Obama to waive, including controls over dual use items and a myriad of financial and other restrictions.
Given Khamenei’s statements published in English and in Farsi on his own official governmental website, the U.S. State Department will likely re-designate Iran as a "State Sponsor of Terror."