By Simon Tisdall
Iranian officials and clerics are insisting Egypt's insurrection, and similar popular revolts across the Arab world, are inspired by Islamist political ideology and have their origin in the 1979 Iranian revolution that overthrew the late Shah. But opposition leaders and independent analysts take a very different view. They say the common rallying cause is democracy, not Islamism – and that the Tehran regime is increasingly fearful of an Egypt-style uprising there.
In a webpage entry entitled Supreme Leader's View Of Egypt, quoted by Shayan Ghajar on InsideIran.org, Khamenei said the Brotherhood's struggle "is just like the yell that the Iranian nation let out against America and against global arrogance and tyranny" in 1979.
"What we are witnessing in the streets of Tunis, Sana'a, Cairo, Alexandria and Suez take their origins from the millions-strong protests in Tehran in 2009," Mousavi said on his Persian-language website, Kalemeh.com.
Shayan Ghajar said Iran's attempts to spin the story revealed "more about the Islamic Republic's anxiety than the actual facts on the ground in Cairo".
Western governments will have differing assessments of the Islamist role in events in Egypt. But Iran's mullahs have at least one firm if unlikely ally in their corner: Israel. Step forward Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. "Our real fear," Netanyahu said this week, was that Egypt and other destabilised Arab governments could become "repressive regimes of radical Islam".