Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Muslims around the world need to restore the image of Islam, which has been tarnished by Islamic State (ISIS). In an emotive broadcast on state television, the president said that Daesh (IS) is falsely portraying Islam as a religion of "killing and violence" adding that it is the "greatest duty" of all-right thinking Muslims to "correct the image of Islam in world public opinion".
In his address, Mr Rouhani said: "Did we ever think that, instead of enemies, an albeit small group from within the Islamic world using the language of Islam, would present it as the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice?"
He explained that Islamic principles are opposed to violence and Islam is founded on principles of peace and compassion. In contrast, extremist groups are borne of "narrow-mindedness and a lack of moderation", he added.
Mr Rouhani said that Muslim countries needed to be accountable and had been "silent in the face of all the killing and bloodshed" in Syria, Iraq and Yemen for too long.
Iran supports the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has close ties with neighbouring Iraq, and condemns the Islamic State group which fights both governments.The Islamic Republic is also an ally of the Houthi movement which seized control of most of Yemen last year and has fought a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia for nine months. Iran has been involved in broad talks on how to restore peace to Syria and tackle the problem of IS.
Mr Rouhani has also expressed a personal commitment to ending Iran's decade-long diplomatic and economic isolation and has been vocal about wanting to hold talks with the US on how to solve the Syrian conflict.
In an effort to improve relations with the west, Rouhani recently accepted an invitation for a state visit to Europe, the first in a decade, and had meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss lifting sanctions on Iran in spring 2016.