DUBAI - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday dismissed as hollow and self-serving U.S. efforts to build a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Iran says it backs the Syrian and Iraqi governments in their fight against the insurgents, but Tehran has not been included in a coalition being assembled by Washington mostly from Arab and Western states that will target the armed group.
“American officials' comments on forming an anti-Islamic State [alliance] are blank, hollow and self-serving, and contradictions in their behaviors and statements attest to this fact,” Khamenei said in brief remarks to state television.
Earlier on Monday, Khamenei left hospital a week after undergoing prostate surgery, state television reported. Official media said he was in good health.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week it would be inappropriate for Iran to join the coalition he is putting together, repeating the U.S. view that Tehran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran denies that charge.
Members of the U.S.-led coalition met in Paris on Monday to discuss their campaign, with French President Francois Hollande calling for united international action to tackle what he termed a global the threat from jihadists.
On his Twitter feed, Khamenei said the U.S. goal in planning a war on Islamic State was to dominate the region and turn Iraq and Syria into “Pakistan, where it can commit #crimes whenever it wants”.
Sunni Muslim Islamic State fighters have seized major Iraqi cities and towns bordering Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Tehran has expressed concern about their rapid advance.
In July, Khamenei called the conflict a “showdown between humanity and barbarian savagery” and criticized Western media for portraying it as a war between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.