Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei blames US for Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine
Iran's Supreme Leader on Tuesday blamed the US for Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed US policies were to blame for Russia's bloody assault on Ukraine in a televised, which has killed at least 130 civilians according to the UN, but the real figure could be much higher.
"The root cause of the Ukraine crisis is the US and the West's policies," said in a televised speech marking a Muslim religious anniversary.
"The United States regime is a crisis-creating and crisis-living one. It feeds on crisis.
"In my opinion, today Ukraine is also the victim of such policy. Today, the Ukraine situation is related to this US policy. The US has dragged Ukraine to this point," he added.
Khamenei then accused Washington of meddling in the "internal affairs of the country, setting up demonstrations against the governments, creating velvet revolutions, creating colour coup d'etats".
Iran has also been roundly criticised for providing vital military support to Bashar Al-Assad's regime in its brutal assault in Syria, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people in opposition areas.
This includes the regime's use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs on civilian areas, in an uprising sparked by a bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests.
Iran's regime has also brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protests in the country and also railed against perceived US threats to invade the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a devastating invasion of Ukraine last Thursday.
Ukraine says more than 350 civilians have been killed since, and that Moscow is amassing more troops for a possible assault on the capital city Kyiv.
Iran's supreme leader said Tehran wants the "war to end", and called for civilians' lives and infrastructure to be spared during the conflict.
"We are against war and destruction, anywhere in the world," Khamenei said, adding that "we are against killing people, the destruction of people's infrastructure".
The invasion has pushed tensions between Russia and the West to their highest point in decades.
The US, European allies and NATO members have imposed severe sanctions on Moscow and are supplying Ukraine with weapons and defence equipment.
Khamenei said that lessons should be drawn from the war, mainly that "Western powers' support of puppet regimes and governments is a mirage, it is not real".
Relations between the US and Iran have been severed since April 1980, a year after the fall of the pro-Western shah.
This was followed by the occupation of the American embassy in Tehran, and the seizing of hostages in a crisis that lasted for more than a year.
The two arch-rivals are currently engaged in indirect negotiations in Vienna to restore a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, from which Washington unilaterally withdrew in 2018.
Iran's leader, who has the final say in major state policies, called the US a "mafia regime".
"Political mafia, economic mafia, arms-producing mafia; different types of mafias that control and lead the policies of the country and actually control the country," he said.