A protest suicide in Tunisia in late 2010 sparked a series of reforms across the region dubbed the Arab Spring. Pro-democracy movements across the region brought down governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. All three have since reported outbreaks of major political violence.
Khamenei said Western governments were working to unravel the "Islamic Awakening" across the region. He told students Sunday in Tehran the movement is a "very important issue that cannot be ruined by the West's antitheses," the semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.
He said "petrodollars and hired politicians" were working against "integrated Muslim power" in the region, which he said was part of an Israeli-led ploy to spark discord within the Muslim community.
His comments come ahead of the upcoming August inauguration of President-elect Hassan Rouhani, the former Iranian nuclear negotiator who secured a victory in June elections.
Rouhani said he would reach out to members of the international community when he takes office. He ran as a moderate when compared to the more conservative allies of Khamenei.
Khamenei has ultimate say over Iranian affairs.