Iran says Egypt events herald Islamic Middle East
* Iran says Egypt unrest echoes its 1979 Islamic revolution
* Iran opposition says it inspired Egyptian protests
* Analysts say Mubarak's fall would benefit Iran
* Tehran taunts Washington for wavering over Egypt
By Hossein Jaseb
TEHRAN, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Iran said on Monday it hopes mass anti-government protests in Egypt will lead to the emergence of a more Islamic Middle East that will stand up to its enemies, Israel and the United States.
The Islamic Republic, locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear programme, sees gains for its own geopolitical influence in the region if Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key U.S. and Israeli ally, is swept aside.
But Iranian opposition politicians, encouraged by scenes of "people power" in Tunis and Cairo, are hoping they will prompt Tehran's hardline rulers to allow greater freedom at home. Continued...