Army says no to 'Khomeini rule' in Egypt
CAIRO - 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, the official MENA news agency reported.
"Egypt will not be governed by another Khomeini," the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said after a three-hour meeting with newspaper editors-in-chief and MENA.
The military rulers made the comment amid concerns over the increased visibility of the Muslim Brotherhood, banned under the regime of president Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down on February 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.
The Brotherhood says it is not in favour of a religious state.
"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will not allow extremist factions to control Egypt," Deputy Defence 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.
It "expressed the hope that the Egypt of tomorrow will be democratic and modern", 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.
A presidential election is due "one or two months" after that.