I've avoided commenting on the events in Iran because this isn't a politically-focused blog, but these events are currently quite the talk among my Persian friends here who are as much elated at the thought of overthrowing an embarrassing and repressive regime as they are concerned that this could end in severe violence. Many of them remember as children when the Shah was overthrown in 1979, and what might have gone on to be a democratic revolution turned out a far more oppressive theocratic state that forced a large-scale exodus of some of Iran's most productive and educated people. A lot of the exiles blame Jimmy Carter for the Shah's overthrow, as Carter had pressured the monarch to liberalize and democratize his government, though most Americans see the former president simply as having been impotent during the whole affair that led to the taking of hostages at the U.S. embassy and a botched rescue attempt. (This was a major factor in Carter's defeat in 1980, as the hostages were still in captivity by that point).
So far, it looks like the unrest in Teheran and other Iranian cities is gathering steam, and the laughably fraudulent election may ultimately backfire on the current regime. They're in a tight spot--allow this sort of open defiance which sets a poor precedent, or crack down Tiannamen-Style, which will not just outrage the world community (which is already not thrilled with Iran's government) but possibly turn more of the country's population against them and lead to a greater uprising?
Not sure how this is going to play out--not sure anyone really knows at this point--but here's hoping for a relatively bloodless overthrow. It would be nice someday to be able to visit that country safely.
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