Hundreds of thousands of Iranians take to streets, marking Islamic Revolution's 32nd anniversary. President calls on West not to 'interfere' in Egypt upheaval, says protestors 'have the right to pick their own type of regime and rulers'.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday called on Western powers not to "interfere" in the situation in Egypt and Tunisia and warned them to withdraw their support for Israel.
According to the Iranian leader, the recent developments in the Middle East will diminish the influence of the United States and Israel in the region.
In a speech marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Ahmadinejad turned to the West and said, "If you wish to modify your behavior and have other countries trust you, you must first of all avoid interfering in other countries, including Tunisia and Egypt, and let them make their own decisions."
He called on young people in Arab countries to "be alert". According to the Iranian president, "It's their right to be free, it's their right to express their opinion and pick their own type of regime and rulers."
He added that Western powers "seek to portray themselves as friends of the countries in North Africa, but have malicious intentions."
Ahmadinejad went on to say that the American and Israeli impact would be reduced following the changes in the region.
"In spite of all the satanic schemes, with the help of God and the people's resistance, the new Middle East will turn into a region without the United States and the Zionist regime, and the arrogant powers will have no place in this Middle East. Soon, the entire world will experience the sweet taste of a world without Zionists and thugs."
Masses march despite cold weather
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians, chanting slogans supporting the Arab uprisings and denouncing the United States, marched towards a Tehran square Friday to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution which toppled the shah.
Men, women and children, braving the cold and cloudy weather, were seen marching from several parts of Tehran towards Azadi Square (Freedom Square) where they were addressed by President Ahmadinejad.
"Egyptians, Tunisians, your uprisings are just and we are with you," the crowds were heard chanting as they arrived at the square.
State television, which telecast the crowds live, said this year the government-organized rally would show solidarity with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, with crowds shouting: "Hosni Mubarak, 'mubarak' (congratulations) on the uprising of your people."
Similar marches were taking place in provincial cities to mark the anniversary, a yearly rallying point for the Islamic regime.
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.