Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the victory over the so-called Islamic States (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria is a defeat of the United States in the region, state TV reported.
The victory over the IS is tantamount to the defeat of plots to sow division and wage a civil war in the Middle East, and it is a blow to plots by the United States and its allies who had created the terrorist group, Khamenei said.
Ayatollah Khamenei's remarks come in response to a senior Iranian military general who announced on Tuesday the final defeat of the IS militants in Iraq and Syria and congratulated Iran's Supreme Leader on the "victory."
Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), on Tuesday hailed the "great victory" over the IS.
The ultimate victory was achieved thanks to the prudent leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei and the sacrifices of all resistance fighters in Iraq and Syria, Soleimani said.
Backed by popular groups and Iranian military advisors, armed forces in Iraq and Syria have managed to flush IS militants out of their last strongholds in both countries, he said, declaring full victory over the "notorious terror group."
"The notorious group's rule has come to an end with the accomplishment of a mission to liberate Syria's eastern city of Albu Kamal, near the Iraqi border," he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
"The victory is a result of favor of God, wise leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei, smart guidance offered by top (Iraqi) Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali al-Sistani, the fortitude shown by the Iraqi and Syrian governments," he said.
He also praised what he called the steadfastness of the Iraqi and Syrian nations, governments, armies and popular forces throughout the counter-terrorism battles.
Soleimani also expressed his gratitude to Lebanon's Hezbollah Shiite movement for its "powerful presence" and the pivotal role it played on the battlefield against terrorists in Syria.
He said initial reports estimate that the damages caused by the IS militants in the two countries amount to at least US$500 billion.
"By disintegrating this cancerous and deadly tumor (of IS), you (Gen. Soleimani) not only provided great service to regional countries and the Muslim world, but also all nations and the humanity," Ayatollah Khamenei said Tuesday.
Ayatollah Khamenei also warned against what he called the enemy's deceit, adding that those who made huge investment to create the IS would try to re-hatch their evil plots in another part of the region or in other forms.
Besides, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday lauded the victories over the IS militants in Iraq and Syria, Press TV reported.
Rouhani expressed his gratitude to the armed forces and peoples of Iran, Iraq, Syria as well as Lebanon for their endeavors to set the stage for the ultimate victory over the IS.
The extremist groups "brought nothing but misery, destruction, massacre and barbarism" to the region, he was quoted as saying.
He also criticized some "global powers and certain reactionary states in the region" for funding and arming the IS terrorist group.
"We never imagined that the criminals, supported by the West, Americans and the evil Zionist regime (of Israel), would commit such crimes in the 21st century," said the Iranian president.
Rouhani also congratulated Iran's Supreme Leader over the "final defeat" of the IS militants in Iraq and Syria.