Middle East News
Iran revolution led to "global wakening," Ahmadinejad says (Roundup)
Feb 11, 2011, 9:13 GMT
Tehran - Iran's Islamic Revolution led to a 'global wakening' that after more than three decades has spread to other Islamic countries, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday.
'The Islamic Revolution was a start with an open end and should no longer be regarded as a national but global movement,' Ahmadinejad said in a speech marking the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 revolution.
'Our revolution was not an ordinary political or national move, but as we see today, after 32 years, it led a global awakening and a new movement in the Middle East and North Africa,' he told a crowd at Azadi Square in western Tehran, referring to recent anti-government unrest in several Arabic countries.
Iran's leaders have been happily comparing unrest in Egypt and other states to the protests that preceded its own 1979 revolution, but observers said its view that religion was behind the protests was unfounded.
'The ideology of Marxism has collapsed, so will capitalism because both did not lead to people's prosperity,' Ahmadinejad said, 'but thanks be to God, the Islamic Revolution came and the Iranian nation made history and led to the global awakening.'
The Iranian president said the revolution belonged to all people 'as it meant rulership of Allah in the world, institutionalization of justice and ultimate return to spirituality.'
At the same time, he said, Iran has also achieved technological progress and within the coming years, 'Iran will even send its first astronaut to space.'
State media said millions of people attended the state-organized demonstrations throughout Iran to mark the 32nd anniversary.
In Tehran, hundreds of thousands of people marched from different directions toward Azadi Square carrying the Iranian flag and pictures of Ian's late supreme leader, grand ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
All channels of the state-run television network ran live broadcasts of the demonstrations, which mark the success of the Islamic Revolution and the end of Iran's monarchy.
Demonstrators were shouting, 'Death to Israel' and 'Death to the US,' Iran's archenemies, and also expressed their support for anti-government protesters in Egypt.
The rallies this year were supposed to be an act of solidarity with the people of Egypt and their protests against President Hosny Mubarak's government.
Iran's opposition also wanted to use the protests in Cairo to hold its own demonstration Monday in solidarity with the Egyptian people.
The government and judiciary rejected the plan, saying the opposition could voice their solidarity in the anniversary demonstrations.
Observers said they believe the opposition expected the rejection but its main aim behind the rally plan was to show that although Iran supports the Egyptian protesters, the establishment would not grant its own people the right to protest.
The government cracked down on mass opposition rallies after the 2009 presidential election, in which Ahmadinejad was re-elected amid widespread accusations of election fraud.
On the eve of the anniversary rallies, the government arrested several dissidents, including the former social welfare minister of reformist president Mohammad Khatami, opposition websites reported.
The websites also said one of the main opposition figures, Mehdi Karroubi, was under house arrest, reportedly to prevent him from organizing any protests on the anniversary.
None of the reports by the opposition websites were confirmed by officials.
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