Iran General NewsIran warns pilgrims to beware 'the enemy's mercenaries'

Iran warns pilgrims to beware ‘the enemy’s mercenaries’

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AFP: Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told pilgrims on the annual hajj to Mecca that those who sow discord among Muslims are “mercenaries of the treacherous enemy”, Iranian media reported Friday. TEHRAN, Dec 29, 2006 (AFP) – Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told pilgrims on the annual hajj to Mecca that those who sow discord among Muslims are “mercenaries of the treacherous enemy”, Iranian media reported Friday.

“Those with a grudge call some Muslim groups infidels… to please the US and the Zionists they speak of the dangers of a Shiite crescent, and they kill people to destabilize the popular Iraqi government,” he was quoted as saying in his message marking this year’s pilgrimage.

“Whether knowingly or not they are criminals, and future generations will remember them as such with hatred as mercenaries of the treacherous enemy.”

King Abdullah II of Jordan coined the phrase “Shiite crescent” in December 2004, when he accused Shiite Iran of trying to influence the Iraqi elections in a bid to create a “crescent” dominated by Shiites extending from Iraq to Lebanon.

In a speech in Dubai on December 20 this year, British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused Iran of being an obstacle to peace and urged moderate countries in the region to form an alliance to oppose Tehran’s support for extremism.

But Khamenei’s hajj message dismissed such concerns as illogical and vindictive.

“The West, headed by the US with its bullying and arrogant deeds, has become a demerit in the world of Islam,” Khamenei’s message said.

“Their behavior towards the Palestinian people and the bloodthirsty Zionist regime, their stance towards the Zionist regime declaring it has nuclear weapons and towards Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, their support for those who insult the sanctity of Islam, including the Pope, while considering research into the Holocaust a crime is both illogical and vindictive behavior,” it added.

Pope Benedict XVI offended many Muslims in September by implicitly linking Islam with violence, while on December 11 Iran staged a conference on the Holocaust being a matter for historical debate, sparking global condemnation.

“Whether they (the West) like or not, a deep-rooted movement has been launched in the Muslim world and this movement will bring about independence, dignity and resurrection to the world of Islam at the appropriate time.”

Shiite-dominated Iran has been accused by the West of interfering in Iraqi affairs ever since the US-led invasion of that country in 2003. The charge is denied by officials in both Tehran and Baghdad.

On December 15 Iran also expressed concern about suggestions that Saudi Arabia might intervene on the side of Iraq’s Sunni minority if the United States pulled its forces speedily out of Iraq.

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