Regional affairs worry Iran's Khamenei

Aug. 9, 2013 at 2:00 PM
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TEHRAN, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa should be resolved at the regional level to avoid outside intervention, Iran's supreme leader said Friday.

A revolution in Tunisia spilled over to engulf much of the region in 2011, leading to a series of democratic uprisings dubbed the Arab Spring. Post-revolutionary governments in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have struggled to endure. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was removed from power barely a year into his tenure.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told his supporters during Friday prayers he was worried by the state of affairs in the region.

"The events in the Islamic region are worrisome," he was quoted as saying by state-funded broadcaster Press TV.

He said the ongoing violence in neighboring Iraq was "regrettable," saying it was likely the fault of "certain regional and trans-regional countries."

He expressed concern about the situation in Egypt, saying resolution should come from the people themselves.

"If a civil war breaks out, it will create the required pretext for the interference of foreign powers," he said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in Sunday, vowing to lead the country as a moderate. Western powers have expressed tempered optimism about his rhetoric though Khamanei has final say in Iranian affairs.

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