Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader says the political upheaval in the Middle East is “an Islamic awakening,” and the unrest signals people’s anger that “their leaders have been U.S. puppets.”

Speaking at the Friday Mass Prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei told worshippers that Arab uprisings are “the voice of the Iranian people echoing in Northern Africa” — the Islamic awakening that was always promised following the “triumph of the Islamic Revolution” in Iran.

“In all the analyses, they try to ignore the main reason for these revolts and to focus on economic and non-economic issues, which do play some role in it,” said Iran’s spiritual leader. “But the main reason for this great movement of the people in Tunisia and, at it apex, Egypt is the humiliation that the people have endured because their leaders have acted as U.S. servants.”

Contrary to his insistence that the Egyptian movement is exclusively Islamic, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s main Islamist group, announced today that the “rise of the Egyptian people” encompasses all sections of society, including Muslims, Christians and people of all political viewpoints.

The Muslim Brotherhood said today, in a statement published on its official website, that it is not seeking to assume power in Egypt but rather is working toward reforms. The Brotherhood also indicated it would only negotiate with the Egyptian government once Hosni Mubarak gives up his presidency.

In the past day, several Iranian political figures have compared the developments in Egypt and Tunisia to the events that led to the 1979 Revolution in Iran and the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Iranian opposition leaders, on the other hand, have said the movements in the Arab world have their roots in the “Green Movement” of protest against the current Islamic Republic government, which took shape following alleged vote-rigging in the presidential elections of 2009.