TEHRAN: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday said that violence in Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslims marks the "death of Nobel Peace Prize", a media report said.
Khamenei called Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a "cruel woman" since the crimes against Rohingya Muslims are taking place under her eyes, Tehran Times daily reported.
Suu Kyi, who was once hailed by the global community for standing up to the Myanmar military, has taken almost no action to put an end to the deadly violence against the Rohingyas. She has been sharply criticised around the world for her inaction.
Khamenei also strongly criticised the silence and inaction of international bodies and self-proclaimed human rights advocates on the ongoing atrocities in Myanmar.
He said the crisis in Myanmar is a political issue and should not be reduced to a religious conflict between Muslims and Buddhists.
"This is a political issue because the party that has been carrying out the atrocities is Myanmar's government, at the top of which is a cruel woman who has won the Nobel Peace Prize. And with these incidents, the death of the Nobel Peace Prize has been spelled," he said.
The United Nations says 370,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar since the Army launched a huge security operation in response to attacks by militants late last month.
Myanmar's military says it is fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians. But many of those who have fled say troops responded to attacks by Rohingya militants with the brutal campaign of violence and burning of villages aimed at driving them out.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Monday described the operation as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
Khamenei called on Muslim nations to take practical steps to stop violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar. "Of course, practical measures don't mean military deployments. Rather, they (Islamic states) have to increase their political, economic, and trade pressure on Myanmar's government and cry out against these crimes in international organisations," he was quoted as saying by Press TV.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should convene to discuss the crisis in Myanmar, he said.