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Khamenei preaches Shiite-Sunni unity against Islamic State, US

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Eid al-Ghadeer speech revealed his concern that the coalition against the Islamic State might give Sunnis and the United States the upper hand in the region.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN) - RTR1TTSE
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In the past few months, as the Islamic State (IS) gained control over parts of Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a caliphate, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has made it a priority for the Iranian government to attempt to reduce tensions between Shiites and Sunnis. In an Oct. 12 Eid al-Ghadeer sermon, Khamenei emphasized the importance of unity between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and the necessity of the two major branches of Islam to avoid conflict.

High-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic have always talked about the importance of Shiite-Sunni unity and even dedicated a week each year to the issue. Their actions, however, have served to deepen the Shiite-Sunni divide, in particular their discrimination against Iranian Sunnis, including limitations on their religious activities, as well as efforts to propagate Shiism in the Middle East.

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