Ali Larijani

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani is denying any sectarian motivation behind the Islamic Republic’s support for popular uprisings in the region.

“Iran has supported the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, where the majority of Muslims are Sunnis,” Larijani argued. “Therefore, the Iranian perspective is by no means sectarian; we look at things from a humanitarian point of view.”

“The people of Bahrain are Shiites and also Muslims,” Larijani added. “But they should not be oppressed because they are Shiites.”

Iran has supported the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya as a sweeping movement against oppressive regimes, even suggesting they have been inspired by the 1979 Iranian Revolution that led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Notably, Iran has condemned the protests in Syria and attributes them to foreign conspiracies.

The Iranian opposition has accused the Iranian government of hypocrisy for claiming to support other uprisings while clamping down on popular protests in Iran.

The two Iranian opposition leaders, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have been under house arrest since they called for a rally on February 14 in solidarity with the popular Arab uprisings in the region. The Iranian opposition claims the Arab uprisings, rather than being inspired by the 1979 Iranian Revolution, are an echo of Iran’s mass demonstrations against the Islamic Republic in protest to the alleged vote fraud in 2009 that led to the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s support of Bahraini protesters, who are mostly Shiite, has been branded as interference in the Island monarchy’s internal affairs. Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy has accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the region by condemning the deployment of Saudi troops to crack down on Bahraini protesters.

Larijani once again criticized the presence of Saudi and UAE troops in Bahrain, saying their presence “rather than calming the situation has deepened people’s resentment.”