Tehran, Iran, Jun. 22
By Milad Fashtami - Trend: Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is opposed to any U.S. intervention in Iraq after the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIL, seized several parts of the country in the last two weeks, Anadolu agency reported.
According to the Iranian official news agency IRNA, Khamenei said Iran believed that the Iraqi government and its people had the power to end this crisis with ISIL.
The Sunni militant group has extended its reach into Iraq since June 10, when it seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul, and soon afterwards took near-complete control of the cities of Tikrit and Tal Afar, where fierce clashes were reported.
Khamenei accused western powers for the conflict and bloodshed in Iraq, especially the U.S., who he accused of abusing "the ignorance and prejudice of a group of willful elements."
"What is taking place in Iraq is not a battle between Sunnis and Shias. The main aim is to topple the Iraqi government and to deteriorate stability, threatening the territorial unity of Iraq," Khamenei revealed.
"The main battle takes place between those who wish to turn Iraq into a U.S. headquarters and those who ask for the independence of Iraq," he added.
In a separate development, an Iraqi armed forces spokesperson said Sunday that Iran has returned to Iraq a total of 130 aircraft that was seized in 1990 along with their weapons and ammunition. Qasim Ata said the aircraft would be equipped with modern weapons to be used to fight ISIL.
Ata gave no exact time on the delivery of the aircraft.
The government of the ousted Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, had dispatched many civil and military aircraft to Iran in 1990 before the U.S and allied forces attacked Iraq.
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