“For centuries, Britain has always been the source of wickedness and evil among nations of our region. The strikes that these Britons have blown against the lives of our neighbors are incomparable to others,” Khamenei said on Saturday in a statement quoted by his official website.
Not only Iran, but also Iraq, Pakistan, and Palestine, have suffered from Britain’s “vicious act,” he said, adding that the UK aims to instigate conflict between Muslims in the region.
“The old British policy to divide and rule is being pursued, intensely, topping the agenda of Islam’s enemies,” Khamenei said, adding that “now, the same Britain, shamelessly, claims Iran is a threat to the region.”
The Iranian leader’s comments came after British Prime Minister Theresa May called Iran a “threat” to Middle Eastern states last week.
“I want to assure you that I am clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to the Gulf and the wider Middle East,” the PM said at a summit of Gulf Arab heads of state, citing Tehran’s position on Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and other countries. She also called on the UK’s allies in the region “to push back against Iran’s aggressive regional actions.”
Khamenei argued that it is the West that is sowing discord in the Middle East by attempting to “turn Muslims against one another.”
Although Western nations, including Britain, have mended ties with Tehran since the nuclear deal was struck in 2015, Khamenei’s position on a number of burning issues in the region, especially the military conflicts in Syria and Yemen, stands in opposition to that of the US, the UK, and their allies.
This week, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned a top British diplomat in Tehran to protest London’s criticism, Iranian media reported.