TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel on Thursday for the destruction of a Shiite shrine's golden dome in Iraq, saying it was the work of "defeated Zionists and occupiers."
Speaking to a crowd of thousands on a tour of southwestern Iran, the president referred to the destruction of the Askariya mosque dome in Samarra on Wednesday, which the Iraqi government has blamed on insurgents.
"They invade the shrine and bomb there because they oppose God and justice," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq.
"These passive activities are the acts of a group of defeated Zionists and occupiers who intended to hit our emotions," he said in a speech that was broadcast on state television. Addressing the United States, he added: "You have to know that such an act will not save you from the anger of Muslim nations."
The bombing set off a string of sectarian attacks in Iraq. Angry crowds thronged the streets, militiamen attacked Sunni mosques and at least 19 people were killed.