A hard-line Iranian news agency linked to the military has published a statement it claims was read out by mourners at an Ashura ceremony on November 4. The statement says that the United States is "still the Great Satan" and draws links between the Taliban, the Islamic State (IS) group, and praises the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Ashura, which falls on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Moharram, is the date on which Shi'ite Muslims mourn the killing of their third imam, Hussein, in the Battle of Karbala in 680.
The statement, published on the Defa Press website, says that the "fitna" ("sedition") of IS is "a continuation of that of the Taliban, which was created by America and governments that support terrorism".
The statement repeats the claim, made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that IS was created by the United States and its allies.
However, the statement goes beyond this accusation, claiming that the United States created IS as an existential threat to Iran, as a means to "[weaken] the resistance powers of the Islamic world against the global arrogance [a term used by some in Iran to refer to the United States] and the Zionist regime [Israel]."
The statement reflects a trend in which, above and beyond Iran's opposition to the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition in Syria and Iraq, hard-line voices in Iran have increasingly begun to refer to the Sunni Islamic State group as an existential threat against the Shi'ite Islamic republic, and therefore an extension of Tehran's axis of traditional "enemies" -- chiefly the United States and the West.
As well as naming IS as a U.S. creation, the statement says that the Iranian people have resisted "hegemonic power and international Zionism and know that America is the Great Satan."
-- Joanna Paraszczuk