Top Iranian military commander, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, has accused the United States of carrying out the 9/11 terror attacks in order to justify an invasion of the Middle East "with the goal of ruling it".
The commander of Iran’s ground forces, made the comments in an interview with Iran’s state-owned Al-Alam news channel, which broadcasts in Arabic as opposed to Farsi.
According to a translation by the US-based Middle East Media Research Institution, he referred to the current conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and told the interviewer: "These wars in the middle and these threats stem from a comprehensive American strategy.
"After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Americans felt that a new force was beginning to materialise, namely the union between Sunnis and Shias. The basis of this force was the blessed Islamic Revolution in Iran, this force is Islam, or the Islamic world. “
He went on to accuse the US of masterminding the terror attacks on 11 September 2001, which killed almost 3,000 people.
"The first thing they did was to plan and carry out the events of 9/11, in order to justify their presence in Western Asia, with the goal of ruling it," he said.
Mr Pourdastan also went on to warn Isis, whose extremist anti-Shia Sunni fighters have captured swathes of Iraq and Syria, against venturing across the Iranian border.
Appearing to reject Isis’ claims that its fighters are truly Muslims, he said: "If [Isis] tries to come within 40km of our borders, we shall confront them, and make them witness the might and capabilities of the Muslim soldiers."
His comments come amid a tentative thawing of tension between the US and Tehran amid negotiations on a nuclear deal, following three decades of animosity.
Negotiators from the US and five other nations are attempting to secure an agreement by the end of June requiring Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions which has damaged the nation's economy.
This week, the US Senate will begin debating a bill allowing Congress to review the potential agreement.
Independent News Service