Iranian Ayatollah and Egypt protest
Iranian Ayatollah and Egypt protestIsrael news photo montage

Iran now is actively encouraging what it calls a “freedom seeking” movement in Egypt to help create its dream of a fundamentalist Islamic Middle East. Iranian officials, for the first time, said Tuesday they are offering support to the protesters in Egypt.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on state television, "With the knowledge that I have of the great revolutionary and history making people of Egypt, I am sure they will play their role in creating an Islamic Middle East for all freedom, justice and independence seekers."

He chastised the United States for allegedly playing a role of “direct interference" in Egyptian affairs at the same time that its citizens “are no longer ready to stand idle in face of crimes by the Zionist regime."

A statement signed by 214 Iranian legislators announced their “strong support for the Egyptian nation's uprising and movement against the tyranny of the country's rulers,” according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

They declared that the revolutionary movement in Egypt is a spiritual one, emphasizing Islamic values.

The military advisor for the Islamic Republic, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, warned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he will face a fate similar to that of Iran's ex-Shah, who was toppled in the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Iran also spread the charge that Israel sent three planeloads of anti-riot equipment to Egypt, a charge that Jerusalem says is “totally false.”