The chief of Iran’s Basij (volunteer forces) Brigadier General, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, says Tehran must not lose focus of its main enemy, namely the US, warning that Washington seeks to downgrade the stature of the Islamic Republic’s struggles to Riyadh’s levels.
“They [Americans] intend to replace the main enemy in Iran’s public opinion and downgrade Iran’s struggles from confrontation with the US to confrontation with Saudi Arabia,” Naqdi said on Tuesday.
“The US’s objective is to trigger conflict in the region and engage us with Saudi Arabia. We should not be deceived,” he added.
Naqdi said the US is the root cause of all “acts of mischief” against Iran, adding that Washington is behind Riyadh’s execution of top cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
“The purpose of Sheikh Nimr’s execution and attacks on the Saudi embassy [in Tehran] was to pave the way for the advancement of the US policies in the region,” he said.
Naqdi noted that the US is doing its utmost to infiltrate Iran, saying that Washington is training terrorists and arming them along Iran’s eastern and western borders.
The general’s remarks came amid growing criticism of Saudi Arabia following the January 2 execution of Nimr, who was a vocal critic of Riyadh’s policies, alongside 46 other people. The execution provoked global popular backlash, including in Iran.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following demonstrations held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad by angry protesters censuring the Al Saud family for the killing of Nimr.
Some people mounted the walls of the consulate in Mashhad while incendiary devices were hurled at the embassy in Tehran. Some 60 people were detained over the transgression.