AFP: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will lead this week’s Friday prayers, his first sermon after nearly seven months, in which he could address the uprising in Egypt, reports said Tuesday.
TEHRAN, February 1, 2011 (AFP) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will lead this week’s Friday prayers, his first sermon after nearly seven months, in which he could address the uprising in Egypt, reports said Tuesday.
“In addition to the importance of a speech by the guardian of Muslims… it also coincides with regional developments and the Islamic awakening in Egypt and other Arab Islamic nations,” the Mehr news agency reported.
ISNA and Fars news agencies also reported that Khamenei, Iran’s commander-in-chief, would lead Friday prayers.
The reports did not say where he will address the worshippers, but thousands gather every week at Tehran university campus for the weekly sermons.
Khamenei’s website on Monday posted a statement he made last year to members of a Palestinian resistance group in which he said “there is no doubt that based on realities envisioned by God, a new Middle East will be formed and this Middle East will be an Islamic Middle East.”
The last Friday prayer sermon Khamenei delivered was on June 4, just days before the first anniversary of the disputed June 2009 presidential election which triggered widespread unrest in Tehran and other cities.
In that sermon, Khamenei, who has the final say on all national issues, launched a stinging attack on the opposition movement which protested against results which showed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elected for a second term.
The authorities cracked down hard on the post-election unrest in which dozens of protesters were killed, scores were wounded and thousands jailed.
Iran has said it supports the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Tuesday the revolt in Egypt will help create an Islamic Middle East.
“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,” state television’s website quoted him as saying.
Egypt has been rocked by deadly protests for eight straight days, and on Tuesday demonstrators planned the biggest marches yet in their campaign to oust embattled President Hosni Mubarak.