Iranian officials last week tried to co-opt the peaceful Egyptian revolution, saying it resulted from "decades of bad rule under a suffocating regime" and was inspired by Iran's 1979 uprising. In a speech Friday, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad' said "the Iranian nation is witnessing the echo of its voice in other parts of the Muslim world."
Egyptians should continue until they "free" themselves," he said hours before Hosni Mubarak stepped down.
What's good for Egyptians is not so good for Iranians, though, as the Islamic republic sent its Basij militia and security forces into the streets and arrested two opposition leaders in advance of demonstrations in Tehran Monday.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who challenged Ahmadinejad in disputed 2009 elections, were placed under house arrest.
Thousands of people still showed up for the demonstrations, which riot security forces armed with batons tried to break up. Clips posted to YouTube showed glimpses of the scene. Foreign media, which helped show the magnitude of Egypt's protests and the violence by pro-Mubarak forces, have been blocked from providing live coverage of events in Tehran.
Security forces are trying to stop protestors from gathering or to physically disperse them, the Agence France Presse reports. They fired tear gas and paint ball pellets at crowds chanting "Death to the Dictator."
Iran beat back the 2009 Green Movement through force and political crackdowns.
The U.S. State Department has started a Twitter feed in Farsi, sending messages about the Iranian government's hypocrisy on the respective demonstrations. "Iran has shown that the activities it praised Egyptians for it sees as illegal, illegitimate for its own people," said one tweet.