February 11, 2009 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 479

Calls in Iran to Topple Egyptian, Saudi Regimes

February 11, 2009 | By Yossi Mansharof*
Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 479


Iran's attacks and accusations against Egypt and Saudi Arabia have recently intensified. In early December, Iran's leading conservative government dailies Kayhan and Jomhouri-ye Eslami accused the Egyptian and Saudi regimes of treason, and called on their peoples to topple their regimes. Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, praised Khaled Islambouli, the assassin of the late Egyptian president Anwar Al-Sadat, and called to follow his example. At the same time, student demonstrations were held in Tehran, during which protesters called for killing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and threw firebombs at the Egyptian interest office.

Also, on December 10, 2008, an Iranian group called "Brothers of Radhwan" set fire to the offices of Saudi Arabian Airlines in Tehran, to protest against what the group called the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and "the regime occupying Jerusalem."[1]

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry protested to the director of the Iranian interest office in Cairo, Hossein Rajabi, against the attacks in the Iranian press and the anti-Egypt demonstrations in Tehran.[2]

Following are excerpts from the Kayhan and Jomhouri-ye Eslami articles, and details of the demonstrations.

Kayhan Editor: Islambouli's Absence is Sorely Felt; If the People of Egypt and Saudi Arabia Rose Up Against Their Regimes, No One Would Dare Oppose Them

Kayhan editor Shari'atmadari wrote in Kayhan's December 2, 2008 editorial: "...The absence of [Sadat's assassin] the martyr Khaled Islambouli, God bless his soul, is sorely felt. Many more should follow his example.

"In a poll conducted last month by Al-Jazeera TV among wide sectors in Muslim countries, over 95 percent of respondents said that the Arab heads of states – especially Saudi King 'Abdallah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – bear the greatest responsibility for the disaster in Gaza. The question is – what were the remaining five percent [thinking]?!

"One cannot [really] expect Saudi King 'Abdallah, who rules on behalf [of the Americans], to oppose the wishes of his American and Israeli masters or to feel sorry about the plight of the Palestinian people. Two weeks ago, during the Interfaith Dialogue Conference in New York, he raised his glass – which he [later] claimed was filled with water – and clinked it against the wine glasses of [U.S. President George] Bush and [Israeli President] Shimon Peres. [Then] he sipped from it, to show that Saudi rulers are indifferent to the massacre of Muslims in Gaza and to the catastrophic conditions in which the Palestinian people live.

"Similarly, one cannot expect Hosni Mubarak, who has on several occasions demonstrated his subservience to the Zionists, to open the Rafah crossing for the disaster-struck people of Gaza. But… have the Muslims – especially those in Egypt and the Hijaz [i.e. Saudi Arabia] – completely lost their Islamic sense of honor and their human feelings? How can the people of the Hijaz silently tolerate the humanitarian disaster and ruthless genocide of their Muslim brothers and sisters in the Gaza Strip, and accept King 'Abdallah's [trip] to New York to sanction this genocide? Have [they] forgotten the words of God's Prophet [Muhammad] that one who hears the cries of a Muslim who is oppressed but does not come to his aid is not a Muslim?

"It is amazing – [even] incredible – that the Egyptian people, who are so civilized, have not lifted a finger [to oppose] the closing of the Rafah crossing and the humanitarian disaster it has precipitated in Gaza. If they rose up against [the Egyptian regime], no would dare oppose them. They should learn from the Iranian, Lebanese, and Palestinian people [how to] stand fast and resist…

"The Muslims, and especially the Egyptians, are currently protesting against Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi's participation in the Interfaith Dialogue Conference in New York, and against his private conversations with Shimon Peres – and this protest is commendable. However, the main problem, which must not be forgotten, is that the Egyptian and Saudi regimes, along with unprincipled clerics like Tantawi, are supporting the Zionist leaders in their genocide and oppression of the people of Gaza. The Zionists' crimes in Gaza provide every religious, legal, rational and humanitarian justification for killing them, and the Muslim masses, present in every corner of the world, can easily fulfill this divine religious duty and humanitarian mission… Since [Israelis] travel freely to other countries, they are easily targeted for punishment and vengeance.

"Some Arab heads of states – who, in the current siege of Gaza, are playing the same role as did the leaders of the heretics in the siege on the Muslims in Shi'b Abi-Talib[3] – undoubtedly deserve to share the fate of Abu Lahab, Abu Sufian and their ilk.[4] [These leaders] are threatened from two directions. Firstly, the wrath of the Muslims will sooner or later reach them; secondly, they are under threat from their American and Zionist masters…"[5]

Jomhouri-ye Eslami: The Arab and Muslim World Would Be Better off Without These Traitorous Leaders

In its December 2, 2008 editorial, the Iranian daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami stated: "If only there were no traitorous leaders like those [who compromise with Israel] in the Muslim and Arab world. If only the [Muslim and Arab] nations could openly express their hidden wishes. Then we would see [them]… prove to friends and enemies [alike] that they [can] remove and reject the traitors."[6]

A few days later, in its December 7, 2008 editorial, Jomhouri-ye Eslami called Mubarak "dictator" and "pharaoh." It went on to say that Mubarak has "no status among the Egyptian people... and remains in his seat [only] thanks to U.S. support," and added that "tyrannous governments are the greatest obstacle to enforcing the commandments, principles, and values of the faith – because [these governments] consider them an obstacle to imposing their personal wishes and tendencies."[7]

Students at Demonstrations: If Mubarak Were Here, We Would Have Killed Him

At a November 30, 2008 demonstration in front of the Iranian Foreign Ministry building in Tehran, students from universities across the city demanded that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) include executing the "traitor" Mubarak on its agenda.[8]

At another demonstration, on December 8, 2008, in front of the Egyptian interest office in the city, students called for the execution of "pharaoh" Mubarak, saying he was the "murderer of the children of Gaza," and also called on the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian students to unite and open the Rafah crossing. They threw firebombs at the office and waved photos from the Sadat assassination, with "This is the punishment for negotiators" written across them, as well as signs saying "We are all Khaled Islambouli" (see photos below).[9]

The demonstrators claimed that Egypt, under Mubarak, was an accomplice in Israel's crimes, and shouted slogans including "Death to Mubarak," "Dishonorable Mubarak, Shame, Shame," "Revolutionary Execution for Every Compromiser," "Execute Hosni Mubarak," "The Silence of All Muslims is Betrayal of the Koran," "Hossein, Hossein,[10] Is Our Motto, Martyrdom Is Our Pride," and "King 'Abdallah [of Saudi Arabia] – Shame on You, Shame on You." The demonstration was later praised by Javad Karimi Qoddousi, member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

Mohammad Mohammadi, spokesman for The World Islamic Organization's Headquarters for Commemorating the Shahids, which produced the film "Assassination of a Pharaoh" that caused tension in Egypt-Iran relations,[11] declared during the demonstration that "the country's students were protesting today against one of the manifestations of evil in our time." He continued, "For 27 years, a beast named Mubarak has been ruling Egypt. Mubarak, who today puts on democratic airs and holds phony elections, is the same Mubarak who in the 1980s was a full-fledged executioner...

"[And] what can we expect from [Sheikh] Tantawi? This is the man who said, on the third or fourth day of the 2006 Lebanon war between Hizbullah and the enemy who is occupying Jerusalem, that [Hizbullah Secretary-General] Hassan [Nasrallah] mistakenly sees himself as Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyoubi...

"[Returning to Mubarak], how can he be called a Muslim? He prevents [the Muslims] from following the way [of God], and his punishment is death. Had Mubarak been present here, the people [at this demonstration] would not have hesitated for a moment before executing him...

"We renounce evil in all its forms – [including] Mubarak, the head of the Zionist regime, and the filthy Saudi king 'Abdallah... The way to liberate [the Muslims] from the oppressive Zionist regime and from its servants does not pass through the corridors of the U.N., through the seats of the Security Council, through the Arab parliaments or through fancy conferences. The way [to do this is with] trucks loaded with explosives, driven by people like [Hizbullah martyrs] Ahmad Qassir, 'Abd Al-Mun'im Qassir, Safi Al-Din, Salah Ghandour and other holy martyrs."[12]

Sadegh Shahbazi, head of the Students Pursuing Justice movement, said at a demonstration, "We are not people who quiet their conscience with a few symbolic gestures and then go home... We declare before our leader, 'Ali Khamenei, representative of the Hidden Imam, that we are willing to follow the example of Khaled Islambouli whenever he commands it."[13]

Also, Islamic Student Association secretary-general Majid Mojiri called on the Iranian authorities to expel the Egyptian interest office from Tehran.[14]

Appendix: Photos from the December 8, 2008 Student Demonstration in Front of the Egyptian Interest Office in Tehran[15]

*Y. Mansharof is a research fellow at MEMRI


[1] Raja News (Iran), October 10, 2008. About the attack, see

[2] Al-Ahram (Egypt), December 10, 2008.

[3] A quarter in Mecca, where, according to an important biography of the Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet and his followers were besieged by their enemies.

[4] Abu Lahab and Abu Sufian, leaders of the Meccan Quraysh tribe that fought against the Prophet, were subsequently cursed by him. Abu Sufian is especially hated by the Shi'ites because of his rivalry with the dynasty of Ali, founder of the Shi'ite faith.

[5] Kayhan (Iran), December 2, 2008.

[6] Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), December 2, 2008.

[7] Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), December 7, 2008.

[8] Fars (Iran), November 30, 2008.

[9] Fars (Iran), December 9, 2008.

[10] Imam Hossein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

[11] For more on "Assassination of a Pharaoh," on the Sadat assassination, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2074, "Iranian Film Calling Sadat Traitor Strains Egypt-Iran Relations," October 7, 2008, Iranian Film Calling Sadat Traitor Strains Egypt-Iran Relations.

[12] Fars (Iran), December 9, 2008.

[13] Fars (Iran), December 9, 2008.

[14] Fars (Iran), December 10, 2008.

[15] Fars (Iran), December 9, 2008.

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