Massive crowds of Iranians, waving flags and chanting “Death to Mubarak!” and “Death to America!” descended on Tehran’s Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to listen to the hardliner who lashed out at the West and Israel in a speech marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
“We will soon see a new Middle East materialising without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance (the West) in it,” Ahmadinejad told the cheering crowds who gathered despite the cold and cloudy weather.
In a speech directed in good part at the Arab uprisings, Ahmadinejad said Egyptians need to be careful of the United States.
“They (the United States) have adopted a friendly face and saying ‘we are friends of people of North Africa and Arab countries’, but be watchful and united. You will be victorious,” he said.
“Iranian nation is your friend and it is your right to freely choose your path. Iranian nation backs this right of yours.”
Iran, which has no diplomatic ties with Egypt, has expressed its support to the uprising there, with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for installing an Islamic regime in the world’s most populous Arab nation.
In his fiery style, Ahmadinejad, showed his messianic beliefs on Friday, saying the world was witnessing a revolution managed by Imam Mehdi, the 12 Shiite imam who disappeared as a five-year-old in the 10th century and who Shiites believe would return on the judgement day.
“The final move has begun. We are in the middle of a world revolution managed by this dear (12th Imam). A great awakening is unfolding. One can witness the hand of Imam in managing it,” said Ahmadinejad, wearing his trademark jacket.
Ahmadinejad, who has often denied the Holocaust, said the United States is an “accomplice to the oppression of the Zionist regime.”
“If you want people to trust you, first of all do not interfere in affairs of the region, including in Tunisia and Egypt. Let them be by themselves,” he said.
“Come and take away the Zionist regime which is the source of all crimes… take it away and liberate the region. Free the region and give it to the people and take this regime, which is the child of Satan (the United States), out.”
Crowds of Iranians chanted pro-Egypt and anti-US slogans as they participated in the regime-organised anniversary celebrations — a yearly rallying point for the Islamic regime.
Chants of “Marg bar Mubarak (Death to Mubarak)”, “Egyptians, Tunisians, your uprisings are just and we are with you” and “Hosni Mubarak ‘mubarak’ (congratulations) on the uprising of your people!” were heard in streets of Tehran.
Similar marches were taking place in provincial cities.
The 1979 revolution toppled the monarchy of shah Mohammad Reza, a key US ally in the region. Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington were broken off soon after and remain so to this day.
“Death to America! Death to Israel!” chanted the crowd as they carried Iranian flags, banners and posters of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the uprising against the shah, and of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s supreme leader.
The European Union is boycotting events marking the anniversary in protest at the hanging of Zahra Bahrami, an Iranian-Dutch woman executed by Tehran, a diplomatic source said.
The Netherlands has condemned the hanging of Bahrami, who was initially arrested during mass protests over Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election, which sparked a deadly crackdown, but executed on drug smuggling charges.
Her execution prompted the Dutch government to freeze all diplomatic contact with what it labelled a “barbarous regime” in Iran.
During last year’s anniversary rally, Iran’s opposition had attempted to stage anti-government demonstrations which were crushed by security forces and the Basij militiamen.
Since then the opposition supporters have stayed off Tehran streets but their leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have sought to hold a rally on Monday in support of Arab uprisings in the region.
But critics say their plan is to garner their supporters and attempt to stage an anti-government demonstrations