DUBAI: A Twitter account Iran experts believe is run by the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in comments apparently inspired by Iraq`s turmoil, accused Sunni militants on Thursday of wanting to bring about a war in the Muslim world.
Shi`ite Iran has been alarmed by rapid territorial gains made in Iraq by the militants of the `Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant` (ISIL), which seeks a caliphate ruled on mediaeval Sunni Muslim precepts in Iraq and Syria.
ISIL`s advances pose a threat to the survival of Shi`ite-majority Iraq as a united country. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki`s Shi`ite-led government, an ally of Tehran, has called for military help from the United States, Iran`s longtime foe.
A message posted in English on the Twitter account @khamenei_ir said the Sunni militants wanted to foment distrust between Sunni and Shi`ite Muslims, a goal they shared with "arrogant" powers - normally an Iranian codeword for the United States and its Western and Israeli allies.
The message referred to "takfiri" militants - Sunnis who proclaim followers of other sects of Islam to be infidels and therefore legitimate targets of holy war.
"Muslims should be aware of Takfiris and arrogant`s common goal to create a war in Muslim world - both Shias and Sunnis should be vigilant," it said.
"The great danger of the Takfiris is not about killing innocents, although that’s a crime, a big crime.
"Yet greater danger of Takfiris is to make Shias and Sunnis distrust one another; this is a really great danger which fulfils goal of arrogants."
Iran`s regional rival, Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, has also expressed alarm about this month`s developments in Iraq and the dangers they pose for Middle East security and peace.