Iranians have been inspired by the successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, but a diplomat who defected last month warns that Iran's regime is a much more brutal one. Iran would "slaughter" rebels rather than cede control, says Ahmed Maleki, who served as vice consul in Iran's Milan consulate before fleeing to Paris. Maleki is one of a string of officials who have defected to join the Green Wave opposition group, formed last year; he says others are waiting for the right time to defect.
"In the course of the past 32 years the sole objective of the regime has been to retain power," he tells Reuters. "They are willing to ... resort to whatever measure, including slaughter and bloodshed to the extreme in order to retain power." (Read more Iran stories.)