Iran Cleric: Mideast Unrest Replay of Our 1979 Islamic Revolution

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said protests in Egypt, Tunisia show the era of 'Western-backed dictators' in the Arab world is over.

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The "aftershock" of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution was now rocking Egypt and other Arab states, a senior ayatollah said in the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran.

"I herewith proclaim to those (Western leaders) who still do not want to see the realities that the political axis of the new Middle East will soon be Islamic rulership and a democracy based on religion," Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said.

"All these protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen are inspired by Iran's Islamic revolution and these countries are de facto rocked by the aftershock of the Iranian revolution," the ultra-conservative cleric added.

The ayatollah said that the era of "Western-backed dictators" in the Arab world was over and the people have entered the scene with the slogan of Allaha Akbar (God is Great), which Khatami said.

A surge of popular protests over police and government repression and poverty swept Tunisia earlier in the month and sent their veteran leader from power, sending a chill through unpopular authoritarian governments across the Arab world. This first ousting has led to a wave of protests throughout the Arab world, with citizens holding anti-government demonstrations and demanding reform. Protests continued in Egypt for the fourth day, despite at least 5 protesters being killed in clashes with police since the protests began.

Protesters chant slogans near a Tunisian national guard member during a peaceful demonstration in Ettadamen suburb of Tunis January 15, 2011Credit: Reuters

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