(Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Monday blamed the United States and the “wicked” British government for creating the Islamic State in his first speech since undergoing prostate surgery last month.
The sharp remarks were a reminder of Iranian suspicions about the West despite the emergence of the ultra-hardline Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria as the common foe of Tehran and Washington.
“America, Zionism, and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions – the wicked government of Britain – have sharply increased their efforts of creating divisions between the Sunnis and Shi’ites,” he said, according to his website, in a speech marking a Shi’ite Muslim religious holiday.
Islamic State, known to its detractors by its Arabic acronym Da’esh, has overrun swathes of war-torn Syria and Iraq in recent months.
Despite being adversaries for decades, Shi’ite power Iran and the United States both oppose the militants and have armed local groups fighting them. Senior officials from both countries have denied any plans to work together, however…