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Iran

Throw off US and Israeli influence, Ahmedinejad tells Middle East

Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

The Middle East will soon be free of US and Israeli "oppression", Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said on Friday as Iran marked 32 years of its Islamic republic. Ahmedinejad warned Egypt to beware US interference in its uprising, while telling Egyptians that the Iranian nation is their friend.

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Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

"We will soon see a new Middle East materialising without America and the Zionist regime, and there will be no room for world arrogance in it," Ahmedinejad told crowds of people gathered in central Tehran.

His speech was directed in large part at protesters in Egypt, who he predicted would be "victorious".

The US has "adopted a friendly face and is saying 'We are friends of the people of North Africa and Arab countries,' but be watchful and united," Ahmedinejad warned. Addressing the US directly, he told the country to stay out of affairs in the Middle East, including Egypt and Tunisia, if it wanted to win the region's trust.

Dossier: Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

Iran backs the Egyptian people's right to freely choose their path, he said.

People carried Iranian flags and posters of revolutionary leaders as they gathered to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution that overthrew the shah in 1979.

The European Union is boycotting anniversary celebrations in protest at Iran's recent hanging of an Iranian-Dutch woman.

Tehran executed Zahra Bahrami on 29 January on drugs smuggling charges. She was initially arrested during anti-government protests in 2009.

The Netherlands complained its officials were denied access to Bahrami, and has cut off diplomatic contact with Iran in protest.

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