Iran’s Ayatollah: U.S. and Israel Support the Islamic State and al Qaida; Crowd: ‘Death to America!’ ‘Death to England!’ ‘Death to Israel’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | June 9, 2015 | 12:24pm EDT
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei speaking at the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini on June 4. (Screen capture)

( - With less than a month to go before the June 30 deadline for talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia) on an agreement to restrict Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, gave a televised speech in which he stated that the United States and Israel support the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified in Congress two years ago that Iran “has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity” to build nuclear weapons and whether it does so or not will be decided “singly” by the Ayatollah Khamenei.

During the ayatollah’s June 4 televised speech, according to a transcript published by the BBC, the audience interrupted the Supreme Leader on five occasions with chants that included the phrase “Death to America!”

On one occasion, according to the BBC transcript, the audience chanted ten times: "Neither compromise no[r] surrender, fight against America!"

On three occasions, the audience chanted: "God is great! God is great! God is great! Khamenei is the Leader! Death to anti-supreme jurisconsult! Death to America! Death to England! Death to hypocrites and nonbelievers! Death to Israel!"

It was immediately after one of the “Death to America!” chants that the ayatollah made his declaration that the United States and Israel support the Islamic State and al Qaida.

“Today, the deviant DAESH, al-Qaida and other such orientations are supported by America and Israel,” said the ayatollah. (“DAESH” is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.)

In his June 4 speech, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Today, we are as much opposed to the savage and oppressive behavior of DAESH in Iraq and Syria as we are to the oppressive behavior of America's federal police inside their own country. Both of them are the same.”

The United States has been fighting the Islamic State under its current and previous names since at least 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq and targeted the terrorist group, which was then led by Abu Musab al Zarqawi. As Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed out in a press conference last August, the territory the Islamic State seeks to control includes not only Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, but also Israel.

Khamenei’s June 4 speech marked the 26th anniversary of the death of Khamenei’s predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and was delivered at the shrine built at the site of Khomeini’s tomb.

Supreme Leader Khamenei posted an English translation of his speech on the English-language version of his official website.

In the speech, Khamenei warned against “distorting the personality” of Khomeini and then described seven principles he believed were among those at the center to the late ayatollah’s Islamic vision.

In explaining four of these seven principles, the ayatollah makes express reference to “America.” In explaining a fifth, he does not mention “America,” but does reference “our enemy” “the rejection of arrogant domination,” and “the rejection of foreigners' domination over the country.”

The first Khomeini-ite principle Khamenei cited was his predecessor’s insistence that there were two types of Islam: “original” Islam and “American Islam.”

“The first matter about Imam is that he proved original Muhammadi Islam and rejected American Islam,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.

“He differentiated between original Islam and American Islam,” said Khamenei. “What is American Islam? In our own time, during Imam's lifetime and at all times--as far as we know, in the future, too, the situation will be the same--American Islam has only two branches: one is secular Islam and another is reactionary Islam. Imam always placed those who had secular thoughts--that is to say, those who wanted religion, society and individuals' social behavior to be separate from Islam--on an equal footing with those who had a reactionary outlook. The latter means those who adopt a backward outlook that is not understandable to broad-minded individuals. It means those who are prejudiced about their wrong principles. This is the meaning of being reactionary. Imam always mentioned these people together.


“If you take a look today, you will see that both of these kinds of Islam exist in the world of Islam and both of them are supported by bullying powers of the world and by America,” said Khamenei.

“Today, the deviant DAESH, al-Qaida and other such orientations are supported by America and Israel,” said Khamenei.

“Some other orientations that work in the name of Islam, but that know nothing about Islamic action, fiqh and sharia are supported by America as well,” he said. “The kind of Islam that is practiced by ‘court akhunds’--Imam repeatedly used this term to refer to such people--the kind of Islam that is promoted by DAESH, the kind of Islam that is indifferent to the crimes committed by the Zionists and America and the kind of Islam that is dependent on America and great powers and that acts with America's signals have their heads in one trough,” said Khamenei.

“They all meet in the same place and Imam rejected all of them,” said Khamenei. “The kind of Islam that Imam introduced is against all these [fake] kinds of Islam. Imam's followers should draw a line between original Islam, and reactionary and secular Islam. They should identify and pursue original Islam.”

The second of Khomeini’s principles that Khameini’s discussed was also related to his view of the United States.

“The second principle is reliance on divine assistance, trust in the truthfulness of divine promises and--at the opposite end of the scale--distrust of arrogant and bullying powers in the world,” said Khamenei.

“Imam's distrust of arrogant powers made him ignore their promises,” said Iran’s Supreme Leader. “The president of America--Reagan, who was a powerful president--used to write letters and send messages and agents to Imam, but Imam did not pay any attention to him. He did not respond to his letters. He did not care about the promises that Reagan gave.”


“In the present time, we are feeling this on different matters,” said Khamenei. “We can see that it is not possible to trust the promises that arrogant powers give. We can see that we cannot trust what they say in private meetings. We can feel this. Imam made this one of his main principles: trust in God and distrust of arrogant powers.”

In the fifth Khomeini-ite principle that he brought up in his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei explained why his predecessor had coined the term “the Great Satan.”

“The fifth point is about foreign affairs,” said Khamenei. “Imam was in the camp which was against international bullies and arrogant powers and he did this in an outspoken way.”

“He did not compromise with arrogant powers,” said Khameini.

“‘The Great Satan’ was an astonishing term that Imam coined,” said Khamenei. “The ideological and practical implications of the term ‘The Great Satan’ are very vast in scope. When you consider someone and some organization as ‘Satan,’ it is clear how you should behave and feel towards them. Until the last day, Imam had the same feeling towards America. He used to use the term ‘The Great Satan’ and he believed in it with all his heart and soul.”

Khameini then likened the “oppressive behavior” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to the “oppressive behavior” of what he called the “federal police” in the United States.

“With this position, it is possible to understand global events and know what the correct position is,” said Khamenei. “Today, we are as much opposed to the savage and oppressive behavior of DAESH in Iraq and Syria as we are to the oppressive behavior of America's federal police inside their own country. Both of them are the same.”

The sixth Khomeini-ite principle Khamenei discussed called for rejection of “arrogant domination” by “foreigners” who use “sanctions and threats.”

“Another main guideline in Imam's thoughts was the issue of the independence of the country and rejection of arrogant domination,” said Khamenei.

“Imam believed in the independence of the country. He believed in the rejection of foreigners' domination over the country,” said Khamenei. “Over the course of these years, many of the activities that our enemy did against the country and the people were for the sake of undermining the independence of the country. He has targeted our independence whether through sanctions or threats.”

In discussing a seventh principle of Khomeini--the need to avoid discord within the Islamic community--Ayatollah Khamenei again pointed to America.

“The kind of Sunni that is supported by America and the kind of Shia that is exported from London to the whole world are similar to one another,” said Khameini. “Both of them are Satan's brother. Both of them are the agents of America, the west and arrogance.”

Director of National Intelligence Clapper has twice testified in Congress that Ayatollah Khamenei, as Iran’s Supreme Leader, will decide if Iran builds nuclear weapons.

On April 18, 2013, Clapper Testified in the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran had the capability to build a nuclear weapon.

“Clearly, Tehran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to produce them, so the central issue is its political will to do so,” Clapper said. “Such a decision, we believe, will be made by the Supreme Leader, and at this point we don't know if he'll eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

“Have they made a decision, in your assessment, to produce nuclear weapons?” then-Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin asked Clapper.

“They have not,” said Clapper. “We continue to hold that they have not yet made that decision. And that decision would be made singly by the Supreme Leader.”

On Feb. 26, 2015, Clapper restated this assessment in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Iran will face many of the same decision points in 2015 as it did in 2014,” he said. “Foremost is whether the Supreme Leader will agree to a nuclear deal. He wants sanctions relief but, at the same time, to preserve his options on nuclear capabilities.”

“We believe the supreme leader would be the ultimate decision maker here,” Clapper testified. “As far as we know, he's not made a decision to go for a nuclear weapon.

“I do think they certainly want to preserve options across the capabilities it would take to build one,” Clapper said. “But right now they don't have one, and have not made that decision.”

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