Iranian journalist Amir Taheri reflected the question Is Iran replaying its revolution of 30 years ago? and has some surprising answers:
"In 1979, the Shah was criticized for having violated the 1906 Constitution, notably by preventing political pluralism and imposing a one-party system. Today's movement started as a protest of the alleged rigging of the June 12 presidential election, in violation of the 1979 Constitution.
"The 1979 uprising represented an unusually broad coalition, with at least a dozen leftist groups and almost as many Islamist factions along with nationalist, social-democratic and liberal outfits.
"The same is true today. Dozens of different opposition groups -- ranging all the way from moderate Khomeinist to Monarchist -- have come together to challenge the regime under a single umbrella.
"The ruling establishment back then remained reasonably united until the very end. Even after the Shah had left the country, no key regime figure switched sides. Today, however, the ruling elite is split down the middle.
"In 1979, a majority of Iranians would probably have voted for the shah, had there been elections. Few, however, were prepared to fight for him in the streets. This time, the regime may well lose a free and fair election but still is capable of fielding large numbers of supporters who are ready to die and kill for it.
"The Shah had no stomach for bloody repression. His constant, and rather charmingly naive, motto was: 'A king cannot kill his own people.'"
(in Farsi: محمدرضا شاه پهلوی)
(26 October 1919 in Tehran – 27 July 1980 in Cairo),
Emperor (Shahanshah = King of Kings) of Iran from 16 September 1941.
"In contrast, Khamenei has built his career as a tough street fighter. In his Friday sermon in Tehran declaring war on the opposition, he made it clear that he wouldn't shy away from a bloodbath in order to prevent regime change.
"The perception that the Shah was weak and unwilling to hit back played a crucial role in disheartening his supporters and encouraging his opponents. That perception was one reason so many of his closest aides simply fled the country at the first opportunity."