Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 January 2012
For the majority of Iranians who went through the Islamic Revolution of 1979 with high hopes, the “Spring of Freedom” (Bahar-i Azadi) never really bloomed except perhaps on the specially minted gold coins issued in March 1979 by the Provisional Government of Mahdi Bazargan. Revolutionary optimism quickly died out and gave way to a long winter of discontent. For the peoples of the Arab world who are presently witnessing an “Arab Spring,” the turn of events may be different. Though the current movement has yet to fully unfold, potentially taking months or even years, and though it is unrealistic to generalize about all Arab countries as if they were one monolithic unit, there are features that set today's movements apart from the 1979 Iranian Revolution as much as there are striking parallels.