Tour d’horizon: An Iranian Optic on the Middle East and its Prospects

Seyed Mohammad Marandi

Download a full version of this publication as a PDF here.

Almost a year ago, in a well-remembered Friday prayer sermon delivered on February 4, 2011, Ayatollah Khamenei spoke at length, in Arabic, about the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. At the time, the Egyptian people were on the streets attempting to topple the Western-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak. In his sermon, after praising the Tunisian people, Ayatollah Khamenei spoke of how Mubarak had humiliated Egypt by becoming an American pawn and an ally of Israel. He also recalled the sharp pain that Egyptians felt when Mubarak helped implement the Western-imposed, inhuman siege of Gaza and when his regime worked in partnership with Israel and the United States during the 22-day onslaught against women, men, and children there in late 2008.

Ayatollah Khamenei went on to speak about the history and intellectual traditions that have given Egypt its unparalleled importance in the Arab world. In this context, he described the movement unfolding in Egypt as both Islamic and freedom-seeking, with its potential for significant impact on the Middle East. Noting that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had parallels to Iran’s revolution more than three decades ago, he also underscored that the situations are not all identical; each is unique, in accordance with different geographical, historical, political, and cultural conditions. Claims that Iran is seeking to export its ideology or model of government to Egypt, he said, were dishonest attempts to keep the peoples of the region divided. He went on to warn that the United States has recognized it cannot keep its pawns in power, so it will attempt to “move its pawns around” to preserve its hegemony and should not be trusted.

Leave a Reply