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Leaders Condemn Iran Protests

A garbage container is set on fire as Iranian protesters stage an anti-government demonstration.(AFP/Getty Images)

February 14, 2011

Members of Iran's parliament are calling for the execution of opposition leaders after large anti-government protests swept through the streets of Tehran on Monday, the BBC reports.

Tens of thousands took to the streets Monday, inspired by the success of anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt. Dozens were arrested, and security forces have beaten and fired tear gas at crowds, according to reports. At least one protester was killed.

Following the protests, about 50 conservative members of Iran's parliament in Tehran were shown on state TV marching and chanting for the death of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two opposition leaders who have been placed under house arrest. Both men had disputed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the Iranian government to grant its citizens the same freedoms enjoyed by Egyptian protesters.

The State Department has even begun using Twitter to throw virtual support behind protesters, including sending out one message that read: "US calls on #Iran to allow people to enjoy same universal rights to peacefully assemble, demonstrate as in Cairo," AFP reported.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under President Carter, said on MSNBC this morning that he “is not too optimistic” about the situation in Iran. "Frankly I’m fearful that in Iran we are going to see bloodshed," he said. "Somehow I have the feeling that Iran is not yet quite ripe for an upheaval."

The ripple-effect from Cairo continues to make its way through the Middle East. As Yemen entered its fifth day of protests today, protesters clashed violently with supportes of the government. About 3,000 anti-government protesters were met by about 2,000 baton-wielding, pro-regime supporters, Al Jazeera reports.

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