The Iranian opposition movement, having gone underground since the 2009 crackdown, appears to be trying to leverage the successes (thus far) of the Egyptian protest movement into a breath of fresh air for their own aspirations.
The Iranian authorities are not happy. They’re dismissing the protesters as “rioters” before they’ve even had a chance to march peacefully. Permits have been denied, and warnings issued.
The U.S., meanwhile, is preemptively speaking out on behalf of demonstrators. On Saturday, Pres. Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, released this statement:
By announcing that they will not allow opposition protests, the Iranian government has declared illegal for Iranians what it claimed was noble for Egyptians. 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.
This was two days before the protests took place.