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IRAN: Warning of a U.S. plot to hijack uprisings, officials invite Arab nations to return to 'Islamic identity'

March 9, 2011 |  7:54 am

436x328_12891_120333 In more Iranian commentary on the protests and uprisings currently sweeping the Arab world, officials in the Islamic Republic claimed in speeches on Wednesday that there is a U.S. plot underway to hijack the Arab uprisings and warned that U.S. influence was preventing Arab protests from turning into real revolutions.

Invitations were also extended to protest-stricken Arab nations to return to their "Islamic identity."

According to a report by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said there were efforts by the U.S. and other Western countries to avert the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

U.S. influence, reckoned Salehi, had so far prevented the protests from becoming a revolution and the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia had reached a level only of change, not revolution.

Since the start of the Arab uprisings, Iranian authorities have sought to brand the protests and upheavals as an "Islamic awakening," inspired by the Iranian revolution of 1979.

"The model of Iran’s Islamic Revolution can be regarded as the engine of the current innovative and creative atmosphere of political discourse in confronting the hegemonic systems in the region," said a report issued by the Iranian news agency Mehr in February.

So Iranian parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, made sure to extend a hand to protest-stricken Arab nations and invite them to embrace Islamic principles in a speech Wednesday, saying Iran and the country's parliament supported countries such as Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Bahrain, "in order for them to return to their 'Islamic identity'," according to IRNA.

Larijani also sent a stern warning to regional leaders, urging them not to stand against their people's will, which he claimed would serve only the interests of the West's political opportunism and U.S. ambitions in the region.

--Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani. Credit: Agence France-Presse

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