An Iranian general accused the U.S. of having planned and carrying out the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to invade Middle Eastern countries and thus prevent Sunni-Shiite cooperation.
In a television interview last week, Brigadier-General Ahmad Reza Pourdestan, who commands Iran’s ground forces, said current conflicts in the Middle East are all part of an “American strategy.”
“These wars [in the Middle East] and these threats stem from a comprehensive American strategy,” Pourdastan said. “After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Americans felt that a new force was beginning to materialize, namely, the union between Sunnis and Shiites."
“This force is Islam, or the Islamic world. In order to prevent this force from materializing, the Americans did many things. The first thing they did was to plan and carry out the events of 9/11 in order to justify their presence in western Asia, with the goal of ruling it,” Pourdastan said, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute which posted translated excerpts from the April 19 interview that aired on Iran’s Al-Alam television.
Addressing the current Sunni-Shiite conflict in Yemen, the Iranian military official raised the possibility of Shiite militia attacks on neighboring Saudi Arabia, suggesting the kingdom might not withstand such an assault.
“Personally, I feel that if Saudi cities were targeted by bombings and missiles, it would be difficult for the officials there to withstand this,” he said.
He suggested the Shiite Houthis – who are supported by Iran – might use their firepower to aim at targets outside Yemen.
“Seeing that in the past, Yemen bought a variety of weapons which are now in the hands of the [Houthi] Muslims, they are capable of dealing lethal blows to Saudi Arabia,” Pourdastan said.
A Saudi-led coalition stepped up its military attacks on Yemen Sunday aiming to push back the Iranian-backed Houthis from the territories they have seized.
Secretary of State John Kerry was set to meet Monday with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of the June 30 deadline for the U.S. and five world powers to reach agreement on a permanent deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
The Iranian general also gave warning to Sunni fighters from the Islamic State group, telling them if they near the Iranian border, “We will confront them and make them witness the might and capabilities of the Muslim soldiers.