The spectre of Iran overhangs the Egyptian crisis, the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini’s bearded visage, frustrated street protests, nuclear ambition and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denunciations of Israel. But this is the wrong Iran. The right comparison is with the Iran of 1979-1980, which saw Cairo-like street demonstrations topple a dictator and endorse a makeshift revolutionary government. And which saw the Carter administration invite the ailing shah and his family to seek refuge over here.
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