iran - AP - December 17 2010
Iranian women covering their faces with green niqabs in Noushabad, south of the capital Tehran, Iran, December 17, 2010. Photo by AP
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The White House accused the Iranian government on Friday of blocking information about the developments in Egypt because it's "scared of the will of its people."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the regime conducted arrests and is blocking access to international media and the internet because of the mass protests in Egypt that forced longtime ruler Hosny Mubarak's resignation.

"The Iranian government should allow the Iranian people to exercise the very same right of peaceful assembly and ability to demonstrate and communicate their desires," Gibbs said.

Gibbs was referring to mass demonstrations in Tehran in 2009 calling for reform that were subjected to a crackdown that was frequently violent.

"What you've seen in the region is the government of Iran, quite frankly, scared of the will of its people," Gibbs said.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said in London Friday it believed its Persian service was being jammed by the Iranians because of its coverage of the political unrest sweeping Egypt. The BBC said the interruptions began late Thursday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi released a statement Friday in Tehran congratulating the people of Egypt, but Gibbs said that was nothing but "empty talk."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that after Mubarak, "there would be a new Middle East in which there would neither be a place for the United States nor the Zionist regime" of Israel.