New Mideast taking shape based on Islamic principles: cleric

January 29, 2011

TEHRAN - Tehran Friday Prayer Leader has said that the United States’ dream of creating a new Middle East under its domination did not come true and a new Middle East, based on Islamic principles, is taking shape.

The remarks by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami were made in reference to the unrest which has gripped certain Arab countries including Tunisia and Egypt.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine’s government fell on January 14 after weeks of bloody protests over unemployment and high food prices.
The spirit of Tunisia also engulfed Egypt, one of the United States’ closest Middles East allies, where police fought with thousands of Egyptians who defied a government ban on Wednesday to protest against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
Ayatollah Khatami told worshippers at the Tehran University campus, “Today, an Islamic Middle East is taking shape and this is a new Middle East which is based on Islam, religion, and religious democracy.”
He added that former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice had assumed a new Middle East would be created in favor of the U.S. and the Zionist regime.
Rice first introduced the term “New Middle East” to the world during the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006.
“It is time for a new Middle East. It is time to say to those that don’t want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not,” she said.
Rice also described the aggression and the plight of the Lebanese people as the “birth pangs of a new Middle East,” saying Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire.
“Whatever we do, we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East,” Rice stated.
Developments in Arab world echo Islamic Revolution
Ayatollah Khatami also said that the recent developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and other Arab states echo the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Khatami added that the ousted Ben Ali “copied what happened during the ruling of (Iran’s) shah” and faced a similar fate.