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Tunisia on the way to Islamic rule

Tunisians are on the path to establishing Islamic rule in their country after having toppled a Western-backed dictator, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

“It is very clear that the nation of Tunisia rose up against a Western-backed dictator using Islamic, humane, monotheistic and justice-seeking slogans,” he told a cheering crowd in the central city of Yazd.

“In one word, the Tunisians are after establishing Islamic law and rules,” the hardliner said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Ahmadinejad’s remarks come after 228 lawmakers in the 290-member Iranian parliament voiced their support on Tuesday for what they termed the “revolutionary movement” of the Tunisian people.

“The parliament of the great Iranian nation strongly supports the revolutionary movement of the brave Tunisian people … and wishes success to them,” the MPs said in a signed statement.

Weeks of turmoil in the Arab state of North Africa forced president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee abroad last week after 23 years in power and left scores of people dead.

The revolt was sparked by the suicide of a university graduate prevented by police from selling fruit and vegetables to make a living.

Tunisia on Monday unveiled a new government which promised unprecedented freedom in the once tightly-controlled country and said it would prepare to hold presidential and parliamentary elections within six months.

But hundreds of Tunisians have rallied against their new government, as the leadership tries to defuse public anger over economic hardships and Ben Ali’s former ruling party’s continued hold on power.

The tumultuous events in Tunisia — dubbed the “Jasmine Revolution” –have inspired dissidents across the Arab world and sparked protests in various other Arab countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Egypt.