Egypt not to be ruled by "another Khomeini": army

Amid concerns over increased role of Muslim Brotherhood

Published:

Egypt will not be ruled by "another (Ayatollah) Khomeini," the country's military said on Monday, in reference to the cleric who led Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

"Egypt will not be governed by another Khomeini," the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said after a three-hour meeting with chief editors of Egyptian newspapers, the official MENA news agency reported.

The military rulers made the comment amid concerns over the increased visibility of the Muslim Brotherhood, banned under the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down on Feb. 11 after a popular uprising.

Mubarak's departure raised fears in the West of the creation of an Islamist regime in Egypt, where the Brotherhood is the strongest opposition force. However, Muslim Brothers said they have no intentions to seek power.

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will not allow extremist factions to control Egypt," Deputy Defense Minister Mohammed Mokhtar al-Mella told the journalists on Monday.

The military also reiterated its commitment to transfer power to civilian rule after legislative and presidential elections, and to respect freedom of expression, MENA reported.

Mubarak in February transferred his powers to the military, which has committed itself to handing the reins to civilian rule after a parliamentary election due in September, to be followed by a presidential election.