Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel of being behind the anti-Islam film that has sparked violent protests in the Muslim world, AFP reported on Friday.
Ahmadinejad: Anti-Islam film an Israeli ploy to sow strife
Speaking at a military parade in Tehran, Ahmadinejad called the film an Israeli plot "to divide (Muslims) and spark sectarian conflict."
The parade, displaying military hardware, marked the anniversary of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. According to Iranian state media, the military displayed Shahab 1, 2 and 3, Sejjil, Qadr, Sahab and Zelzal missiles during the parade.
Iran has claimed the Shahab-3 has a range that can reach Israel and they have reportedly experimented with integrating a nuclear warhead onto the missile.
Ahmadinejad\’s comments came after Iran\’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier this week that the American-made film is tied to "Islamophobic policies of arrogant powers and Zionists."
Khamenei added that it is incumbent upon Western governments to prove to the Muslim world that they are against attacks against Islam. "Leaders of [the US and European countries] must prove that they were not accomplices in this big crime in practice by preventing such crazy measures,” he said.
The 13-minute English-language movie, which was circulated on the Internet under several titles including "Innocence of Muslims," mocks the Prophet Muhammad and portrays him as a buffoon.
The film helped generate a torrent of violence last week in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack in Benghazi. US and other foreign embassies were stormed in cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by furious Muslims.
For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian widely linked to the film in media reports, was voluntarily questioned on Saturday by US authorities investigating possible violations of his probation for a bank fraud conviction.
Initial reports described the filmmaker as Sam Bacile, a self-described “Israeli Jew” and now a Los Angeles property developer, who said that the $5 million movie was financed by donations from 100 Jews.