Former Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi accused Iran of having carried out the bombing of the Shi'ite Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, which triggered widespread sectarian violence. Speaking in an Al-Arabiya TV interview on January 5, 2017, Al-Hashimi said that the goal had been "to drive a wedge between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis."
Interviewer: "Shortly before you became Vice President, some significant events took place in February 2006. These events were triggered by the bombing of the Al-Askari Shrine, the tomb of the Imams Ali Al-Hadi and Hasan Al-Askari in Samarra. This bombing triggered the tragic sectarian strife and killings in Iraq – the tragic events that we all witnessed. Who carried out the bombing?"
Tariq Al-Hashimi: "Iran."
Al-Hashimi: "In order to drive a wedge between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis."
Interviewer: "In order to blame the Sunnis for the bombing?"
Al-Hashimi: "That's exactly what happened. All the statements that were issued immediately after the bombings - the statements by (the Shi'ite) religious authority, by (Iraqi PM) Ibrahim Ja'afari, as well as Shi'ite parties, all these statements blamed extremist Sunnis for the bombing."