Iran says Egypt events sign of Islamic renaissance

TEHRAN Thu Feb 3, 2011 12:37pm EST

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said Thursday the anti-government protests in Egypt were a sign of an "Islamic renaissance" in the Middle East.

The Foreign Ministry voiced support for the uprising and said the protests would lead to the emergence of "a real independent Islamic Middle East," according to state television.

"Iran supports the rightful demands of the Egyptian people and emphasizes they should be met," a ministry statement said.

It called on people and governments around the world to strongly condemn what it said were Israeli and American "interferences aimed at diverting Egyptians' justice-seeking movement, by creating counter-revolt and using rioters," the official Irna news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Iran has said the protests echo the Islamic state's 1979 Islamic revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

Iran's arch-enemy Israel expressed fears earlier this week that protests in Egypt could put a radical Islamist regime in power, jeopardizing the peace treaty with Israel.

Iran is the only country in the region with no diplomatic ties with Egypt and analysts say Tehran hopes the fall of the Egyptian government could boost its influence.

"Iran also warns that any opposition to the movement of the Egyptian people ... will bring about the anger and hatred of all Muslims around the world," the statement said.

(Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; editing by Andrew Roche)

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