Spontaneity of protests in Iran reminiscent of 1979 uprising

    The State Department says the U.S. is deeply troubled by reports of violence and arrests in Iran following the disputed outcome of its presidential election. Disputes over alleged vote rigging in last week’s elections have touched off days of rioting in Tehran. Local Iranian Americans say they’re surprised by the events.

    The State Department says the U.S. is deeply troubled by reports of violence and arrests in Iran following the disputed outcome of its presidential election. Disputes over alleged vote rigging in last week’s elections have touched off days of rioting in Tehran. Local Iranian-Americans say they’re surprised by the events.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090615spiran.mp3]

    Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet is the director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Kashani-Sabet was a teenager during the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought the current regime to power, but moved to the United States several years later.

    She says there are some similarities, such as the speed and spontaneity of the protests.

    Kashani-Sabet: Initially there was a lot of  excitement and enthusiasm, I think some of that has been supplanted by anxiety and fear. There was some disappointment among the people I’ve spoken to about the outcome of the elections.

    Kashani-Sabet says the landslide election results in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  took many by surprise.

    But, she says one big change from the 1979 uprising is that the current reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is an insider, and had been approved by state officials to challenge the incumbent.

    Mousavi says he is the rightful winner of Friday’s presidential election.

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