- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme religious leader, on Saturday called on the Islamic nations to unite in the face of the world’s “bullies” and greatest enemies: the U.S. and Israel.

Mr. Khamenei accused the U.S. of seeking to incite “third-party” states against the Islamic Republic but said “such third parties are only deceived puppets,” Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

He argued that the bullying powers are conspiring “against the [Koran] and not Shiism and Iran, because they know that the [Koran] and Islam are the center of awakening nations.”

Mr. Khamenei added that Iranians chant slogans like “death to America, death to Israel” because they have “realized that their real stubborn enemy is the world arrogance of Zionism,” the Times of Israel reported

Speaking to Iranian officials in charge of the Hajj — the massive annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca — Mr. Khamenei said the pilgrimage was the perfect opportunity for Iranians to convey his message to other Muslims and encourage Islamic unity.

“The world bullies are fully, seriously seeking to stir violence and discord under the name of Islam and are trying to disrepute the religion of Islam, foment internal fights among Islamic nations and even among the people of one nation to weaken the Muslim Ummah, and transferring the Iranian nation’s experience about unity and recognition of the enemy to other nations in the Hajj season can defuse these plots,” he said, The Times of Israel reported. 

His comments are the latest in series of disparaging remarks against the U.S. since the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in July.

Earlier this week he strongly impugned the motives of the U.S. in the talks, saying “their intention was to find a way to penetrate into the country.”

Last month, Mr. Khamenei tweeted an image of a silhouetted President Obama holding a gun to his head with the caption, “If any war happens, the one who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S.”  

U.S. lawmakers will vote in September on whether or not to try to block the president from upholding the nuclear deal. To block the Iran nuclear deal is an idea that has gained support among conservatives. 

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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