(CNSNews.com) – “Occupy Wall Street” and associated protests in U.S. cities will usher in the American equivalent of the “Islamic awakening” in the Middle East and lead to the downfall of capitalism, a senior Iranian military officer said at the weekend.
Another top security official also predicted the protests would result in the collapse of the U.S. political system.
And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to call for the current world order to be replaced by the rule of the messianic Shi’ite figure known as the 12th imam, prophesied to emerge at a time of global chaos.
With the world system on its last legs, “the existing order has to go and we must present a replacement which is nothing other than the rule of the imam of the age,” Ahmadinejad told an audience in Mashhad, considered one of the holiest cities in Shi’ite Islam.
From supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei down, the Iranian establishment has characterized the 2011 political upheavals in the Middle East as an “Islamic awakening” that promises to undermine U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.
On Sunday the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, a senior official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as saying that the protests that have spread from New York to other U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., were “promising an American spring along the path of Islamic awakening.”
“The failure of the U.S. president to resolve the Wall Street crisis will turn this economic movement into a political and social movement protesting the very structure of the U.S. government.”
The protests, he said, “will no doubt end in the downfall of the Western capitalist system.”
Noting that some protestors have been displaying U.S. flags upside-down, Jazayeri said this signaled that “the U.S. flag is no more the national symbol of this country and rather represents a powerful and wealthy minority who rule the United States.”
(According to the U.S. Flag Code the Stars and Stripes should never be displayed upside-down “except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”)
Those to blame were not just financial institutions and corporations but also politicians from both parties, Jazayeri said.
He accused U.S. police of responding to the protests “even more harshly than their proteges in Middle Eastern Arab countries.” (Some protestors have been briefly arrested, mostly for disorderly conduct and blocking traffic, including on the Brooklyn Bridge a week ago.)
Meanwhile the commander of the Basij, the notorious regime militia that played a key role in the violent crackdown on Iranians protesting Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009, also opined on the protests in the U.S.
“The movement of the people of the United States is a far-reaching movement, a tide which would lead to the collapse of the political system of the country,” Mohammad Reza Naqdi said in Tehran on Saturday.
“As the former Soviet Union empire fell and [was] destroyed, the U.S. empire is going to vanish like all other enemies of Islamic Republic of Iran, including Iraq former dictator Saddam Hussein,” the IRIB state broadcaster quoted him as saying.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a briefing that the U.S. government should heed the protests, “execute justice, focus on internal matters and pull out troops from other countries to invest on improving living conditions of people instead.”
He also chastised law enforcement agencies for their response to the protests.
“Suppression of popular rallies in different cities of the U.S. shows that the U.S. forces cannot tolerate peaceful demonstrations.”
Other regimes hostile to the U.S. have also commented on the protests.
“This movement of popular outrage is expanding to 10 cities and the repression is horrible – I don’t know how many are in prison now,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a televised speech at the weekend.
Poverty and misery were worsening in the U.S., he said.
In contrast to his concern about the situation faced by Americans, Chavez was one of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s most supportive allies and led protests against NATO’s military intervention there.
Chavez is also supportive of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and at the weekend the Venezuelan and Cuban foreign ministers were in Damascus on a solidarity mission on behalf of Latin American leftist governments.
North Korea’s mouthpiece, the KCNA news agency, said the protests in American cities were targeting “the greedy and richest one percent capitalists of the U.S. population.”