Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saluted on Friday what he termed an "Islamic liberation movement" in the Arab world, and advised the people of Egypt and Tunisia to unite around their religion.
The all-powerful Khamenei said the Arab uprisings, if successful, would lead to failure of US policies in the region and that the revolts were the most worrying for Israel as its alliance with Egypt could be broken.
"Do not back down until the implementation of a popular regime based on religion," said Khamenei, Iran's commander-in-chief, who switched from Persian to Arabic during his Friday sermon directed at Egyptians.
"The clergy should play a role. For example, when people come out of mosques and chant slogans, they should support. Inshallah (God willing) part of the Egyptian army will join the people. The main enemy of the Egyptian army is the Zionist regime and not the people," he said.
The sermon marked the first time in seven months that Khamenei has addressed the weekly Friday prayers and came as protesters massed in Egypt for sweeping "departure day" demonstrations to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit.
"Today's events in North Africa, Egypt and Tunisia and some other countries have different meanings for us," Khamenei said in Persian at Tehran university where thousands of worshippers gathered to hear the nation's spiritual guide.
(Iranian worshippers chant anti-Mubarak slogans as a protester holds a poster of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak after Friday prayers in Tehran.)
"This is what was always talked about as the occurrence of Islamic awakening at the time of the Islamic revolution of the great Iranian nation and is showing itself today," he said.
"Our revolution has been able to be inspiring and a model because of perseverance, stability and its insistence on principles," he told crowds of cheering worshippers who chanted "Death to America! Death to Israel!"
Khamenei said the Iranian revolution showed what "political independence and (ability) to resist enemies is."
"Today in Egypt one can hear your voice echoing there. The American president who was in power during the (Iranian) revolution has said in an interview that what you hear in Egypt is familiar. What is heard in Cairo today was heard in Tehran during his days," Khamenei said referring to former US President Jimmy Carter.
He said the Arab revolts are "a real earthquake" and if successful would lead to "failure of American policies" in the Middle East.
Khamenei attacked Mubarak, calling him as the "servant" of Israel and the United States.
"For 30 years this country (Egypt) has been in the hands of someone who is not seeking freedom and is the enemy of those seeking freedom," the cleric said.
"Not only he is not anti-Zionist, but he is the companion, colleague, confidant and servant of Zionists. It is a fact that Hosni Mubarak's servitude to America has been unable to take Egypt one step towards prosperity."
Khamenei also said that Israel had cause to be concerned about the Arab revolts.
"Today more than the fleeing Tunisian and Egyptian officials, Israelis and the Zionist enemies are the most worried about these events as they know if Egypt stops being their ally and take its rightful place, it would be a great event in the region," he said.
Under Mubarak's assassinated predecessor Anwar Sadat, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 that saw Egypt getting back all the land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Tehran-Cairo ties were severed in 1980 following Egypt's recognition of Israel. The two countries have since only maintained interest sections in their respective capitals.
Khamenei warned Egyptians against compromising with any leader who might win Western approval.
"They are trying to replace one spy with another. They are trying to focus the spotlight on certain faces to impose the rule of the spies on you. Do not accept anything less than an independent popular regime that believes in Islam," he said, telling Arab peoples he was their brother in religion.
"I call on God to help you and bring about victory for you. I feel proud for your awakening."
After Friday prayers, several hundred Iranians staged a demonstration of solidarity with the Egyptian protesters, burning pictures of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and shouting slogans against Israel and the United States.
Last Mod: 04 Şubat 2011, 17:17