America 'Created ISIS,' and Its War on the Group is 'A Lie,' Says Iran's Supreme Leader

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves as he gives a speech in Tehran, Iran, on June 3. Reuters

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday accused the U.S. of creating the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), and called its war on the jihadist group "a lie."

"You [the United States] and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East … who created Islamic State?" Khamenei said, according to his official website, which added that he'd made the remarks during a meeting with high-ranking Iranian officials. He propagated the conspiracy theory that the U.S. wishes to prop up the extremist group to further instability in the region.

"The claim of forming a coalition against Daesh is a lie; of course, Americans are against 'an uncontained Daesh,' but if anyone would want to truly destroy Daesh, they [Americans] will counter them," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

His comments come after a top Iranian general claimed the Islamic Republic had evidence the U.S. was directly supporting the group. Major General Mostafa Izadi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, said Sunday that the government in Tehran had "documents and information" showing Washington's support of the extremist Sunni Islamist group.

"We are facing a proxy warfare in the region as a new trick by the arrogant powers against the Islamic Republic," Izadi said Sunday according to Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency.

"We possess documents and information showing the direct support of the U.S. imperialists for this highly disgusting movement (ISIS) in the region which has destroyed Islamic countries and created a wave of massacres and clashes," he added, without further elaboration.

The Iranian elite has reacted furiously to U.S. President Donald Trump's response to ISIS' first-ever major attack on Iranian soil. Last Wednesday, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the Iranian parliament in Tehran and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution.

Read more: ISIS claims first major Iran attack in twin assault on Tehran

Trump said "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." Iran's Foreign Minister tweeted in response that Trump's comments were "repugnant." Khamenei, in a written address read at the funeral of the victims of the attacks, said the comments would only serve to "reinforce hatred for the U.S. government and its agents in the region, like the Saudi [government]."

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards blamed Saudi Arabia, its Sunni rival in the region, for the attack. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani also took aim at Riyadh, calling the kingdom "a tribal state very far from anything like a democracy."

Iran's intelligence ministry said the attackers were Iranians who had joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria and returned home to carry out the attack. The jihadi group has increased its propaganda output aimed at Iranians and Persian speakers this year, including a video in March that called on Iran's Sunnis to take up arms against Iran's Shiite elite. Four issues of its online magazine Rumiyah were also translated into Farsi. Around 9 percent of the Iranian population is Sunni, while the rest are mostly Shiites.