(CNN) — As the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution
approaches this week, with the promise of mass protests from Iran’s
growing opposition movement, it’s tempting to compare the upheaval with
unrest that ultimately toppled the shah of Iran.
A coalition of
Iranian reformist groups is urging opponents of the regime to stage
nonviolent protests this week, serving as a show of force for citizens
who oppose the government’s stiff crackdown on those who protested
Iran’s disputed election last June.
While there are striking
similarities between the movements separated by decades of Islamic rule,
experts say there are even stronger differences that make what lies
ahead for the current movement extremely challenging.
“This is a
movement that isn’t trying to make a revolution in the sense of toppling
a regime,” said Abbas Milani, director of Iranian studies at Stanford
University. “It’s making a revolution in trying to make a democratic