(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Iran has defused all regional threats against the country, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday, as tension rises between Tehran and Washington over the influence of the Islamic Republic in the Middle East.
In an Iranian New Year message, Khamenei did not specify any particular threat. But he appeared to be mainly referring to the Islamic State group, which Iranian forces have confronted in Syria and Iraq as well as at home.
'Last year, the Islamic Republic defused regional threats — one of their aims was to harm the Islamic Republic, Khamenei said in a broadcast on state television.These threats did not damage our country, but turned into opportunities.
In November, Tehran declared the end of Islamic State and hailed the Iranian soldiers killed fighting against it in Syria and Iraq. Iran has provided critical military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, helping his army regain swathes of land from rebels and militants in recent months.
'Our humble soldiers and tireless diplomats were able to stand with the people of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to establish stability and increase security for the region, President Hassan Rouhani said in his New Year message.
US President Donald Trump, who sees Iran as a threat to stability in the Middle East, has pledged to work with other states and Israel to curb what they say are Tehran's attempts to extend its influence in the region.
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