Revolution fever is returning to Tehran, where new and illegal protests are planned tomorrow as the United States charges Iran “is scared of the will of its people.”
The regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already blocked several opposition websites, including one named "Bahman,” the 11th month of the Persian calendar, in advance of the planned rally Monday.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, opposition elements in Yemen have accepted an offer by President Ali Abdullah Saleh not run again after demonstrations threatened stability in the country. Bahrain’s kingdom tried to stem trouble by offering every family $2,653 to "praise the 10th anniversary" of its constitution.
In Algeria, where protesters defied a ban on demonstrations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika promised to lift emergency laws.
Iran was the scene of massive opposition rallies nearly two years ago after Ahmadinejad won re-election in a vote that opponents charged was riddled with fraud. Leaders of the opposition remain under house arrest, and others have been taken into custody ahead of Monday’s planned rally.
The Islamic Republic has praised the Egyptian uprising as being a copy of the Islamic revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979, but the prospect of new protests in the streets of Tehran have prompted charges of a “double standard” against the government.
Ahmadinejad as recently as last week told Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters, "The Iranian nation is your friend and it is your right to freely choose your path. We will soon see a new Middle East materializing without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance in it.”
The Obama administration, which had remained silent on Iran during the Egyptian turmoil, charged on Saturday that the Iranian regime is "scared of the will of its people.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "We know that what they really are scared of is exactly what might happen.”
Iran has jammed BBC’s Persian-language television channel and has arrested several foreign journalists. "The recent arrests and effort to block international media outlets underscores the hypocrisy of the Iranian leadership," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
"By announcing that they will not allow opposition protests, the Iranian government has declared illegal for Iranians what it claimed was noble for Egyptians," he added in a statement. "We call on the government of Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate that's being exercised in Cairo.”