Iran on Egypt: Range of Reactions

      Many top Iranian officials have condemned the military coup against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 3. “The interference of military forces in the political scene is unacceptable,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi said on July 8. He charged that Western powers were meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs. But Iranian diplomats, clerics and a lawmaker have also candidly criticized the former Muslim Brotherhood official for his poor performance and warned that deepening divisions could trigger civil strife. Iranian leaders have claimed that the coup was not a setback for the “Islamic Awakening,” Tehran’s term for the Arab uprisings. The following are reactions by Iranian leaders to the Egyptian crisis.
Abbas Araghchi, Foreign Ministry spokesman
            “The Islamic Republic of Iran stresses the fulfillment of the legitimate public demands in Egypt, but we believe… that governments elected by popular vote should be respected and the people’s demands must be pursued through the channels stipulated by law.
            “We witnessed the inefficiency of the government of Mr. Morsi, which had its own consequences and we had seen them in the country’s foreign policy… Islamists and revolutionaries should not be frustrated… The recent developments in Egypt cannot be construed as a failure of the Islamic Awakening or Islamic tendencies; from the outset, we had known and said that the Egyptian revolution would have tough years ahead on its way to stability.” July 7 in a statement
            “The interference of military forces in the political scene is unacceptable and concerning… Driving Egyptian society towards disagreement and division, and polarizing society are [all] dangerous [issues].
            “Definitely there are foreign hands at work, and this issue cannot be denied…. Without a doubt a strong Egypt will not be desired by Westerners and the Zionist regime [of Israel]. Therefore, it is natural to consider their meddling in Egypt a possibility.” July 8 in a statement
Ali Akbar Salehi, foreign minister
            “In the end the Egyptian people have determined their own fate, and it is these people who will define the fate of Egypt in whatever direction it goes…. The Egyptian army has been and is a popular army and has always protected and defended the populace and the integrity of Egyptian soil, but in regards to these events in which a number of innocent people were killed, we must strongly condemn these killings…” July 10 to reporters (translation by AEI)
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs
            “Undoubtedly, the perceptive and insightful people of Egypt will thwart the Zionist regime [of Israel] and enemies’ opportunism as well as bids to stop the growing trend of democracy which is the fruit of the Egyptian revolution.” July 5 in remarks to the press
            “We have already voiced our concern about any conflict that pushes Egypt toward violence. The continuation of the massacre of the Egyptian people by any group is unacceptable.” July 9 in remarks to the press
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee
            “The first mistake by the ... [Muslim] Brotherhood was that they thought they would be able to conclude the revolution only by toppling Hosni Mubarak.” July 4 in remarks to the press
            The arrest of Muslim Brotherhood members “will be a provoking act for their supporters to enter the scene, but [the Brotherhood] should accept early elections. It’s a difficult thing, but it’s the only path toward an understanding, because a continuation of the existing situation is dangerous for Egypt and the region. Iran will certainly not interfere in the internal crisis of Egypt. But we are ready to use our capacity to create calm in Egypt.
            “Certainly, the American and Zionist regimes are happy about this crisis. Therefore, Egypt’s national interests must take priority. After one year of ruling, [the Brotherhood] was entangled with many problems, the army interfered and the people became divided. Therefore, if the leaders of the two sides fuel the conflict, it’s possible that Egypt will move toward an internal crisis or even toward violence… They must not give permission to provide the ground for extremist and well- known elements, or Egypt will move toward unfortunate events like [those in] Syria and Iraq.” July 8 in remarks to the press (translation by Al Monitor)
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, Tehran Friday prayer leader
            “The people of Egypt are Muslim and they love Islam, and many times in the last year they went to the ballot box and they voted for Muslims. But the people who came to sit on the seat of power through the Islamic Awakening performed so poorly that they themselves prepared the ground for a coup.
            “Instead of inviting the Islamic world to unite, [Morsi's government] supported the murdering infidels. On the political front, they dealt with the Zionist regime in a way that was against their previous principles. They confirmed the Camp David Accords and spread fear of Iran and Shiite Islam.” July 5 in a sermon
Hojatoleslam Hassan Ameli, Ardebil Friday prayer leader
            “Some believe that the developments in Egypt are a second revolution and a tendency toward secularization, but we must not forget that these events are the results of Muslim Brotherhood's imprudence and Morsi's lack of understanding, which encouraged the people to change their leadership.
            “In the past year, Morsi did not even once frown at the U.S. and the Zionist regime, while in the early days of their revolution the Egyptians not only set the embassy of the Zionist regime on fire, but they also confronted the excessive demands of foreign governments.” July 5 in a sermon (translation by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Hassan Firouzabadi, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman
            Egyptians should “stand by revolutionary and elected President Morsi.” June 30 in remarks to the press

Photo credit: Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs