WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced Islamic State's beheading of innocent people, saying the militant group's shameful actions violate Islamic principles, NBC News said in excerpts of an interview released on Wednesday.
"From the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing ... innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity," Rouhani told the television network, according to NBC. "And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people in fact is a matter of shame for them and it's the matter of concern and sorrow for all the human and all the mankind."
Rouhani's comments follow the recent beheadings of captured U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Last week, a video purporting to show the beheading of British hostage David Haines emerged. Other hostages also have been purportedly killed by the Islamic militant group.
The interview with Rouhani at his palace in Tehran comes ahead of his visit next week to the United Nations in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly, where much of the discussion is expected to center on how to counter the Islamic State.
The United States has been trying to build an international coalition to fight the militant group, but Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, this week said he had rejected Washington's offer for talks on the issue.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said so far that 40 nations have pledged to help. Obama is expected to assemble his national security team on Wednesday to discuss the U.N. meeting on Islamic State, the White House said.
Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday, complained about the refusal of the United States and other world powers to invite Iran to an international conference in Paris this week on the Iraq crisis.
He said the coalition Washington was building against Islamic State was a "coalition of repenters," because most of those that attended had originally supported it. Zarif added that later the group "came to haunt its creators."
He said that it was important to deal with the threat posed by Islamic State, though he added that Tehran does not support foreign military intervention in the region.
"We do not support foreign military involvement in the region," he said. "We do not believe that injection of foreign forces solves our problem."
Reporting by Susan Heavey, additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York; Editing by Bill Trott and Ken Wills