Abrahamian, who was born in Iran, is a distinguished professor of history at City University of New York. His books include A History of Modern Iran.
He said today: “Those who warn that if the U.S. eases out Mubarak the outcome will be another Iran may unwittingly bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy. In Iran there could have been a bloodless transfer of power to the moderate opposition — [Ayatollah Mohammad] Shariatmadari, [Prime Minister Mehdi] Bazargan and the National Front — if the U.S. had not hung onto the Shah until it was too late. The massacre in September 1978 — known as Bloody or Black Friday — undercut the moderates and brought to the fore [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini. After Bloody Friday, moderates did not want to be in any way associated with the Shah. We are now facing the same situation. If Liberation Square becomes Martyrs Square, there will be few moderates left in Egypt.”
Erlich‘s books include The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis and Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence, and Empire. He said today: “Iran in 1979 and Egypt today are two totally different situations. Khomeini was a well-known leader of the revolution in Iran. Egypt today is a multi-sector, popular uprising without open Islamic leadership. The Muslim Brotherhood is a popular-based movement, but not dominant. Some in the U.S. and Israel equate Egypt and 1979 Iran as a scare tactic to continue backing Mubarak.” Erlich also produced “The Struggle for Iran,” hosted by Walter Cronkite.
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167