Speaking after Friday prayers, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassim Soleimani threatened Saudi Arabia and condemned Israel and the US on Friday. He spoke in the wake of a terror attack in southeastern Iran that had killed two dozen members of the IRGC. Soleimani claimed that Wahhabism, a conservative version of Sunni Islam popular in Saudi Arabia, and America were the two threats to the Middle East and claimed Wahhabism has roots in Judaism.
Speaking in the picturesque city of Babol, which is flanked by mountains near the Caspian Sea, Soleimani praised the IRGC, who’s Quds Force he leads. He slammed Wahhabism, and said it had distorted Muslim belief. “The Islamic Republic [Iran] is the only Islamic-based system governed by Islam, and the Zionists don’t dare attack us because of Hezbollah and Hamas’s strong base in the region.”
Soleimani, who played a key role in recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria, sending IRGC members to aid the Assad regime in Damascus and also helping Iraq to fight Islamic State, said that Iraq was now a close friend of Iran. He said the Islamic Revolution of Iran, which is marking its 40th anniversary, has had success in Iraq via religious leaders, a reference to Shi’ite political parties in Iraq.
In more shocking comments, which Soleimani did not elaborate on, he said that Wahhabism was rooted in Judaism and that both are linked to ISIS. “Wahhabism has its roots in Judaism and they are called ISIS, which destroyed two Muslim countries in the region and destroyed 3,000 mosques and killed hundreds of thousands,” he said.
Soleimani also condemned the recent visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Pakistan and suggested that Pakistan should not allow itself to be bribed into supporting Saudi Arabia. Relations between Pakistan and Iran have deteriorated after the terror attack which was blamed on Jaish al-Adl which Iran says has links to Pakistan.
The long speech then included a discussion about the importance of martyrdom and how Iran’s system would prevail. Soleimani argued that the IRGC was at the forefront of the culture, defending Iran and being willing to sacrifice for the country, a revolutionary Islamic vanguard that in his view is not only vital but also full of vigor after the last years of conflict in the region.