Tehran (Agencies): Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday said that a wave of uprisings in Arab countries is a sign of an "Islamic awakening" which was envisaged when the 1979 Iranian revolution took place.

"Today's events in North Africa, Egypt and Tunisia and some other countries have different meanings for us," Khamenei, the commander-in-chief and spiritual guide of Iran, said in a sermon at Tehran University during the Muslim weekly prayers.

"This is what was always talked about as the occurrence of Islamic awakening at the time of the Islamic revolution of the great Iranian nation and is showing itself today."

Khamenei's remarks were received by cheering crowds of worshippers who, raising their hands, chanted "Death to America! Death to Israel!"

The sermon marked the first time in seven months that Khamenei has addressed the weekly Friday prayers and came as protesters were massing in Egypt for sweeping "departure day" demonstrations to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit.

Top Iranian officials have backed the revolt in Egypt and have warned Tehran's arch-foe Washington against "interfering" in what they say is a movement of the people.

Mubarak, who previously announced that he would quit in September when the Presidential polls are scheduled, dismissed speculation about his intentions to anoint his son Gamal when he relinquishes power.

"I would never run away... I will die on this soil," he said.

As the turmoil deepened, foreign journalists have become targets of rampaging mobs, mostly those aligned with the embattled President. Journalists were beaten, bloodied, harassed and detained by raging men.

News channels reported that several journalists had been detained or forcibly confined to their hotels.