Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today called for an Islamic regime to be installed in Egypt, saying the wave of Arab revolts is an "earthquake" triggered by the 1979 Iranian revolution.
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 the Islamic republic's arch-foe 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.
Tehran, which severed diplomatic ties with Cairo in 1980, has backed the revolt in Egypt and warned Washington against "interfering" in what it says is a movement of the people. "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.
"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.