23 Aug 2011

Iran congratulates Libyan rebels

9:11 pm on 23 August 2011

Iran has congratulated the Libyan people after rebels overran the capital Tripoli at the weekend, saying the rebellion indicates the necessity of submitting to the "legitimate demands of the people."

A foreign ministry statement carried by the official IRNA news agency says the "Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to share its experiences on the path to realising freedom, justice, ... and development ... with the brother nation of Libya".

Relations between Shiite-majority Iran and Muammar Gaddafi's regime were soured by the disappearance in Libya in 1978 of Iranian-born Imam Moussa Sadr, who is considered a spiritual leader of Lebanon's Shiites, AFP reports.

Since the Libyan uprising began in February, Iran has criticised the Gaddafi regime for its violent assaults on the rebels, while at the same time condemning NATO's military intervention.

Israel has also spoken up, wishing Libya's rebel forces a swift victory.

A government official says Israel hopes they can set up an effective and democratic state.