Iran election: sinister parallels between Tehran protests and the 1979 revolution

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The sinister masks donned by furious protesters could have been calculated to strike fear into the heart of any representative of Iran's revolutionary regime.

But while most people would be alarmed by the blank faces alone, Iranian officials would be disturbed at the eerie resemblance to the upheaval that brought them to power 30 years ago.

Then, as now, people registered their defiance by calling "Allahu Akbar" from windows at rooftops at night. They also used the "martyrdom" of their comrades as a clarion call for further action - turning out in huge numbers to mourn the dead.

In the brutal street conflicts of 1979 Ali Khamenei was a lowly seminary lecturer, while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a student activist. Both were thrown into prison by the Shah's ruthless secret police.

In their current roles as supreme leader and president, the pair are now responsible for casting hundreds - possibly thousands - of protesters into Evin prison for precisely the reasons they themselves were held three decades ago.

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