Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the Iraq conflict a "showdown between humanity and barbarian savagery" and criticized Western media for portraying it as a war between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.
Outside powers have often exploited ethnic and religious divisions in Muslim states and "they dream of a war between Shi'ites and Sunnis" that would not happen, he said in Tehran, according to an official statement.
He warned against what he called Western propaganda about "a cast of morons and Saddam Hussein leftovers," apparent references to the radical Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and Sunni tribes who once sided with the country's deposed dictator and now fight with ISIL.
"The incident in Iraq is not a war between Shi'ites and Sunnis, iIt is a battle between supporters and opponents of terrorism, it's a war between fans of America and the West and those favoring independence for their nation," he said of the Iraq violence. "It’s a showdown between humanity and barbarian savagery."
In his speech, Khamenei characterized the events in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East as a Western conspiracy.
“Today, the enemy is investing in civil wars in the region and pins hope on a Shia-Sunni war to relieve itself of the concern of Islamic Awakening,”
He said this was also a conflict between the lovers of West and those who were seeking independence for nations.
“What is happening [in Iraq] is not a Shia-Sunni war. It is a war of terrorism against the opponents of terrorism and a war between pro-Westerners and the advocates of nations’ independence,”