Muslim Brotherhood Lawmaker: Arab Spring Headed to Iran

Head of the Foreign Affairs committee in the Egyptian parliament repels critisicm over okay given to Iranian ship to pass through Suez, saying Egypt was bound by international treaties.

A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el
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A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood and newly anointed Egyptian lawmaker warned Monday that the revolutions that have recently been sweeping the Middle East will also reach Iran.

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Essam al-Arian, the head of the Foreign Affairs committee in the new Egyptian parliament, said that Egypt must examine how it could lead the changes in the Middle East, known as the Arab Spring, which he said would also reach Iran.

Al-Arian's comment marked the first time an official representative of the Muslim Brotherhood spoke openly about a possible uprising in Iran.

There was also harsh criticism in the Foreign Affairs committee meeting in Egypt's parliament over Egypt's approval for two Iranian ships to pass through the Suez Canal. Al-Arian responded to the criticism, saying that Egypt is tied to international treaties and therefore could not prevent the passage of the ships.

This Muslim Brotherhood position fits with their ideological stance, which sees Shia Islam as an unwanted denomination, and also fits their political stance, which sees the Egyptian uprising as a product of Egypt that was meant to remove Mubarak's dictatorial regime, and not part of an Islamic revolution, like Iran wants to present it.

Moreover, the current severance of ties between Hamas and Syria also aids the Muslim Brotherhood express a harsher stance toward Iran. As long as Hamas relied on Assad and enjoyed Iranian aid, the Muslim Brotherhood found it difficult to criticize Iran and Syria.

Iran, on its part, rushed last week to publicly announce that it is prepared to provide financial aid to Egypt and to increase its investments in the country, in order to reduce the harm done to Egypt as a result of a possible freeze on U.S. aid. However the Muslim Brotherhood did not rush to embrace the Iranian proposal.

Amr Moussa, who is expected to run for the Egyptian presidency, also joined the anti-Iranian stance when he declared this week that the "Arab Middle East will not be run by Iran or Turkey."

Iranian protestors attending an anti-government protest as a garbage can is set on fire, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Credit: AP

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood demanded the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to allow the Islamist movement to assemble a new government, pledging to include liberal parties in the cabinet.

Their demand was based on a claim made by the Muslim Brotherhood, according to which, by no being unable to prepare plans to reconstruct Egypt, the transitional cabinet led by Kamal al-Ganzouri could push the country's economy to the brink.

Moreover, the group claims that the current cabinet was not enforcing the law, thus bringing about the spread of robbery cases, illegal possessions of arms, harassments of bystanders, and a general loss of personal safety.

While the criticism is directed at al-Ganzouri's cabinet, it is really meant for the country's ruling military, headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, which approves all the actions of the transitional government.



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