The head of Iran’s foreign military operations has described the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, as a “plague” which threatens Iran’s security and accused the US of doing little to stop their advance in neighbouring Iraq.

The comments by Major General Qassem Soleimani underline fears in the Islamic Republic about potential spillover into its territory and follow reports that Tehran sent troops to neighbouring Iraq to prevent further advances by Isis, which took control of the Iraqi provincial capital Ramadi and Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra last week.

“Isis is a plague and a major catastrophe,” said Gen Soleimani, commander of the Qods Brigade of the elite Revolutionary Guards, over the weekend. “We have to quarantine our borders to safeguard the health of our nation and help our neighbour so that this cancer does not spread into our country.”

Gen Soleimani, who is listed as a terrorist by the US but lauded as a national hero at home, added that the US has so far “not done a damn thing” in the fight against Isis.

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