How Iran’s new protests compare to the past

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In 2009, millions around Iran turned out in protests demanding change after the allegedly rigged re-election of a hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

It was an earthquake at the time, the first major challenge to the cleric-led rule since it was installed in 1979. Eventually, the response of Iran’s ruling establishment, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was brutal. Dozens were killed, many more were jailed and tortured.

Now a new wave of protests is blazing around Iran, this one with smaller crowds, but more widespread, angry over a failed economy and more willing to demand the whole system be brought down. Since last Thursday, at least 21 people have been killed.

In a dramatic shift from 2009, protesters now are chanting slogans against Khamenei and rejecting the ruling system.

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