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Iranian Defense Minister: U.S.-Zionist Conspiracy Behind Middle East Turmoil

Iran’s defense minister claimed that conflicts in Iraq and Syria are the result of a “deep-seated U.S.-Zionist conspiracy” during a memorial service for Mustafa Baddredine, a Hezbollah commander who was responsible for bombing the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.

“Zionists are supporting terrorists and equipping them, i.e. pitting them against Muslims,” charged Hossein Dehghan. “What is important for them is to guarantee the Zionist regime’s security.” Israel has treated over 2,000 Syrians who have been wounded in the country’s civil war since it broke out in 2011.

Dehghan, who was also implicated in the Hezbollah plot to bomb the Marine barracks, praised those defending Shiite shrines in Syria, saying, “their martyrdom will encourage more young people to join the battle against Takfiri and terrorist groups.”

While Dehghan attributed most of the estimated 400,000 dead in Syria’s civil war to foreign fighters, human rights groups say that the vast majority of civilian fatalities were victims of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which Iran heavily backs. Human right investigators are building war crimes cases against Assad and his government, and collecting documentation and testimony to supplement photographs of the regime’s thousands of torture and murder victims.

The U.S. House of Representatives in March overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for a tribunal to investigate human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Assad regime and its allies, including Iran.

Baddredine, who was killed in an explosion of unknown origin in Syria earlier this month, was also praised by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.