As has been pointed out repeatedly, by some media sources, there is no real way to try and view the current events in Iran through the lens of the 1979 revolution. This viewpoint has been consistently proven as attempts are made to assess why countries undertake the actions they do, and has failed repeatedly.
I believe this is because one does not consider what they would do in the same situation. Below is my take on what is going on and why. I have no special inside access, only what is available for anyone in the news, as well as my own background in international relations and analysis to draw upon.
1) Is it logical for the Iranian regime to crack down on protests?
Yes. It is logical, but only if the regime is weak. Say what you will about elections in open countries, but almost universally, protests are allowed as part of a functioning civil society.
2) Who is cracking down on the protests?
Republican Guard, Basij militiamen, and portions of the senior clergy.
3) Who are they going after?
Students, opposition leaders, opposition leaders families.
4) Why go after these targets?
Because they fear the influence and strength that these groups have in actually getting society to fully function.
5) Why are these groups performing the attacks on civilians?
Because they have the most to lose. Under Ahmadinejad, the hard-line elements of Iranian politics have gained a great deal of power and influence. In a government run by the opposition, they might lose their close ties to the public face of the regime, as well as funding for pet projects such as the nuclear developments occurring in the country.
6) What is at stake?
The potential stability of the Republic, influence for some senior clergy and the militant elements of society.
and, for most of my readers, the key question:
7) Why should I care?
I feel that it is the role and responsibility of all people to take interest in the world and international affairs. In the case of Iran, it is a country with a highly educated population, oil rich, bordering countries such as Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, and Pakistan.
It is also an interesting case in democratic development, and helps illustrate what we all can take for granted in America: an open political process, freedom of speech, and freedom from oppression. Like in every time and place, the quality of these varies, but it is a general statement. I could walk out in the front yard right now, and odds are that I’m not going to get beaten for supporting one candidate or the other.
My take away point is this: I have done some analysis (very brief and cursory) above, and it is, ultimately, my opinion based on what I have read and understand to be going on in Iran.
Any number of people could look at the same issues and come to different or similar conclusions. However, I have strictly tried to eliminate any portion of my analysis relating to the Iranian Revolution because I do not feel that it is productive in understanding what is occurring now.
Your thoughts and ideas, are as always, welcome.