Nervous Tehran Sees Benefit — Maybe
30-Jan-2011 (one comment)

Iran is the only country in the Middle East to have no diplomatic ties with Egypt. Nevertheless, the protests rocking the region's most populous nation could carry monumental implications for Tehran. Iran's Islamic government is eyeing developments in Egypt warily, projecting a spin on events in Cairo that only underscores Tehran's anxiety.

"An Islamic Middle East is being created, based on Islam, religion, and religious democracy," declared Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami at Tehran's Friday prayers, celebrating Egypt's popular uprising by claiming it for the Islamist cause. Iran's conservatives have echoed this line since protests in Egypt gathered momentum last week, likening the mass protests to Iran's own 1979 Islamic revolution.

Darius Kadivar

Azadeh Moaveni's Take

by Darius Kadivar on

"Iran is celebrating popular behavior in Egypt that it continues to identify as 'seditious' in Iran," says Farideh Farhi, an Iran expert. "The only way it can partially cover this basic contradiction is by spinning the Egyptian mobilization against dictatorship as the rise of Islamism ignited by the ideal of Iran's 1979 revolution."