Foreign Policy | January 31, 2011
BY BARBARA SLAVIN
While the world’s attention has been riveted by Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt this month, Iran’s government has taken the opportunity to execute a record number of prisoners in an apparent bid to head off the return of the dramatic street protests that pushed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government to the brink in June 2009.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials have been spinning the turmoil in the Arab world as a victory for Iran and a replay of Iran’s 1979 revolution against the U.S.-backed shah. But the mass protests that are ricocheting around the region — spread in part by Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and satellite television — cut more than one way for Tehran. They remind Iranians of their own recent failed attempt to dislodge an increasingly authoritarian government.