A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian president show President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Khoramabad on June 18, 2014
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian president show President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Khoramabad on June 18, 2014 © - Iranian Presidency Website/AFP/File
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian president show President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Khoramabad on June 18, 2014
AFP
Last updated: June 22, 2014

Beware ISIL, Iran's Rouhani warns petrodollar states

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned on Sunday that Muslim states which funnel petrodollars to jihadist Sunni fighters wreaking havoc in Iraq will become their next target.

Rouhani did not name any country, but officials and media in mainly Shiite Iran have hinted that insurgents from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are being financially and militarily supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"I advise Muslim countries that support the terrorists with their petrodollars to stop," Rouhani said in remarks reported by the website of Iran's state broadcaster.

"Tomorrow you will be targeted... by these savage terrorists. Wash your hands of killing and the killing of Muslims," he added. ISIL militants have seized a swathe of Iraqi territory in a lightning offensive, with the Baghdad government's security forces hard-pressed to prevent the advance.

Riyadh has warned that Iran-ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is steering Iraq towards civil war through policies that exclude the country's Sunni minority.

Iran, the predominant Shiite powerhouse in the Middle East, says it will support Maliki against ISIL, which is also battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, another Tehran ally.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he was against any foreign intervention in Iraq, accusing the United States of seeking to "take advantage of fanatics with no will of their own," referring to ISIL.

Khamenei reiterated Iranian declarations that the Maliki government "has the ability to stop this plot, with collective efforts that include the people.

"This is not a Shiite versus Sunni war, unlike what American officials say," he said in comments published on his website, blaming -- without giving further details -- the US for "disrupting (Iraq's) stability and threatening its territorial integrity."

Rouhani meanwhile called for unity between "Shiites and Sunnis who are brothers".

"For centuries, Shiites and Sunnis have lived alongside each other in Iran, Iraq, the Levant, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf and North Africa... in peaceful coexistence," he said.

Since ISIL began its Iraq offensive, Tehran has urged Iraqis to unite against the jihadists.

"The Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds are our friends," parliament speaker Ali Larijani said in remarks reported on the Majlis website.

"We have always insisted that all ethnic groups must have active and constructive participation in Iraq's power structure."

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