Iran Supreme Leader: Egypt unrest inspired by our Islamic Revolution
Speaking before worshipers during weekly prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says success of Mideast revolutions could signal an ' irreparable defeat' for the U.S.
Uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia will spell an "irreparable defeat" for the United States, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday, adding that the recent wave of unrest sweeping through the Mideast was a result of Iran's Islamic Revolution.
Throngs of Egyptians took to the streets in recent days in the largest anti-government protest movement to sweep the country in the last quarter-century. Demonstrators are calling for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, who has served as president of Egypt for over 29 years.
Speaking with worshippers during Friday prayers in Tehran, Khamenei said that "if they [protesters] are able to push this through then what will happen to the U.S. policies in the region will be an irreparable defeat for America."
"Today’s events in North of Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and certain other countries have another sense for the Iranian nation. They have special meaning. This is the same as 'Islamic awakening,' which is the result of the victory of the big revolution of the Iranian nation,” the Supreme Leader was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.
The comment by Iran's Supreme Leader wasn't the first time Iran had equated the current run of Egypt protests with the battle against U.S. influence in the region, with Tehran's Foreign Ministry saying on Thursday that Egypt protests would lead to the emergence of "a real independent Islamic Middle East."
"Iran supports the rightful demands of the Egyptian people and emphasizes they should be met," the official Irna news agency quoted a statement as saying.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry statement called upon people and governments around the world to strongly condemn what it said were Israeli and American "interferences aimed at diverting Egyptians' justice-seeking movement, by creating counter-revolt and using rioters."
"Iran also warns that any opposition to the movement of the Egyptian people ... will bring about the anger and hatred of all Muslims around the world," the statement said.
Israel expressed fears earlier this week that protests in Egypt could put a radical Islamist regime like Iran's in power, jeopardizing Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
"Our real fear is of a situation that could develop ... and which has already developed in several countries including Iran itself -- repressive regimes of radical Islam," said Netanyahu.
Netanyahu continued, adding that although the protests may not be motivated by religious extremism, "in a situation of chaos, an organized Islamist body can seize control of a country. It happened in Iran. It happened in other instances."
Iran is the only country in the region without full diplomatic ties with Egypt and analysts say Tehran hopes the fall of the Egyptian government could boost its influence.