Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has called on political leaders in Egypt to follow the “rightful demands” of their people.
“Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people, respond to their rightful demands and refrain from exerting violence by security forces and police against an Islamic wave of awareness that has spread through the country in form of a popular movement,” Mehmanparast said Saturday.
He further pointed out that Tehran attaches great importance to the fulfillment of public demands in Egypt and added, “Iran regards demonstrations by the Muslim people of this country as a justice-seeking movement in line with their national-religious demands.”
The irony here is rich. The Iranian people have, of course, risen up on multiple occasions to express their “national-religious demands” and their aspirations were brutally thwarted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Basij militia.
Thus far, the Egyptian state has not ruthlessly cracked down on the protesters -- at least not nearly to the degree Iran has. There are indications that the Egyptian military has even intervened on the protesters’ behalf on occasion.
What happens from here on out in Egypt is anyone’s guess. But if the Green movement were to return to the streets of Tehran tomorrow, Iran’s leaders would be singing a much different tune. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, here is how Mehmanparast reacted to protests in December 2009:
Mr. Mehman-Parast on Tuesday accused individuals who orchestrated the Sunday protests of "rebellion," according to state media. He also accused foreign powers, including the U.S. and Britain, of encouraging Sunday's protests, according to state media.
On Monday, President Barack Obama and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband signaled strong support for Iranian demonstrators. Mr. Mehman-Parast said his government had summoned the British ambassador in Tehran for an explanation.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.