VIDEO - "Today there is no such thing as Persian civilization in Iran. There is an Islamic civilization in Iran. There is (prophet) Muhammad's religion in Iran," Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in a YouTube video which angered many in the Islamic Republic.
The head of the Lebanese Shiite group went as far as saying that the leader of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are of Arab descent.
Nasrallah's YouTube video
"Khomeini is an Arab and the son of an Arab who is a descendant of Muhammad. Khamenei is a descendant of the Arab dynasty of Muhammad's descendants," he said.
In the video, Nasrallah also addressed the civil unrest that followed the disputed presidential elections of June 12, 2009 and praised Khamenei's handling of the crisis. "Iran – the regime, government and people were blessed with a wise, courageous and merciful leader in the imam Khamenei," said the Hezbollah chief.
Anti-Nasrallah Facebook page
The comments were made in two separate speeches delivered by Nasrallah. It is not known who posted the video on YouTube, but some estimate it may be elements trying to drive a wedge between Iran and Hezbollah in the aftermath of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Lebanon.
The remarks elicited numerous responses, particularly from Iranian bloggers and internet surfers abroad. A group of Iranian exiles even set up a Facebook page titled, "We, Iranian, hate Nasrallah." More than 6,000 people have already joined the online protest against Nasrallah.
The "Green Embassy Campaign," which was set up by Iranian diplomats who defected to the West, called Nasrallah's comments "worrying" and "baseless." They said the remarks are indicative of the price the regime in Tehran is willing to pay in order to be considered the leader of the Islamic world, even at the expense of Persian history.
The majority of Iranians are Shiite Muslims, while most Arabs are Sunni Muslims.
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