Video: Egypt’s revolution ripples across the Middle East

  1. Closed captioning of: Egypt’s revolution ripples across the Middle East

    >> the latest on the uprising in egypt that led to protest in bahrain , yemen .

    >> lawmakers appeared determined to stop demonstrators before they gained momentum. we'll get the late nest a live report ahead.

    >> also ahead, breaking news overnight from italy. the italian prime minister has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl and then trying to cover it up. we'll have details on the story as well.

    >> plus, we'll meet the cover model for the sports illustrated swim suit issue when she stopped by for her first interview since learning the big news.

    >> a huge event in the life of a model. she's already pretty famous.

    >> in your life.

    >> come february, after the super bowl , baseball hasn't started yet.

    >> we'll begin with the ripple effect from protests in egypt and other parts of the middle east . richard engel is in cairo with the latest. good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning. the iranian opposition has been energized and inspired by what happened here in egypt , but the government in iran is determined not to allow any new protests, calling them riots. thousands demonstrated on monday in sole dare ti with egypt and to apparently restart an uprising crushed by the iranian government after disputed elections in 2009 . iran is determined not to allow a new round of protests to take root. nbc's tehran bureau chief reported from the bureau in the iranian capital.

    >> they tried to disperse the crowds but the crowd wouldn't go away. the protesters tried to make their way to freedom square to try to emulate the sit-in at tahrir square. they were confronted by the militia who beat them back. today, members of iran 's parliament called for the execution of opposition leaders.

    >> reporter: iran 's new round of demonstrations are just one of a growing number in the region inspired by egypt . on the tiny island nation of bahrain , home to the u.s. navy 's fifth fleet, thousands of protesters opposing the monarchy clashed with riot police for a second day. two people have been killed already in the unrest here including one ott a funeral. the deaths raised the chances of further unrest that could open a painful sectarian divide, all too familiar in the middle east . bahrain has a sunni monarchy but a 70% shiite population, almost the same split as in iraq. in yemen at the tip of the arabian peninsula , protests continue for a fifth day. like in egypt , yemen 's demonstrators want to topple their president of three decades, accusing him of corruption, but yemen is more unstable than egypt . yemen is already fighting two civil wars and has an active al qaeda cell that sent mail bombs to the united states last october on cargo planes. a collapse of the u.s.-backed yemen government could lead to anarc anarchy. in egypt , the protests are over. the army has taken control, removed demonstrators from the square and promises to transition to democracy over the next six months. the demonstrators who organized the revolution in egypt tell us they are in contact with other protesters around the region offering advice and support. meredith?

updated 2/15/2011 11:38:04 AM ET 2011-02-15T16:38:04

President Barack Obama on Tuesday slammed Iran for its harsh treatment of anti-government protesters and called on governments throughout the Middle East to avoid crackdowns on pro-democracy supporters.

"The world is changing," Obama said in a message directed at autocratic rulers across the region. "You have a young, vibrant generation within the Middle East that is looking for greater opportunity. ... You've got to get out ahead of change; you can't be behind the curve."

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Obama was asked at a White House news conference about the mood of change sweeping the Middle East in sympathy with the opposition victory in Egypt.

"It's ironic that the Iranian regime is pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt," Obama said. "They acted in direct contrast to what happened in Egypt" by using force against demonstrators.

Obama said that with advances in freedom of communication through smart phones and Twitter, it is more true than ever that governments must recognize that they must act with the consent of the people.

Story: U.S. concerned by violence in Bahrain protests
Interactive: Recent Middle East unrest (on this page)

"Governments in that region are starting to understand this," Obama said, "and my hope is that they can operate in a way that is responsive to this hunger for change, but always do so in a way that doesn't lead to violence."

Iranian leaders had sought to portray the toppling of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, both secular leaders, as Islamic uprisings.

Hardline Iranian lawmakers called Tuesday for the country's opposition leaders to face trial and be put to death, a day after clashes between opposition protesters and security forces left one person dead and dozens injured. Tens of thousands of people turned out for the opposition rally Monday in solidarity with Egypt's popular revolt.

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"We have sent a strong message to our allies in the region... Lets look at Egypt's example," Obama said.

In Egypt, the military, which is now in charge of the country, exercised restraint and did not fire on protesters.

Buoyed by the Egyptian example, protesters also demonstrated in the relatively wealthy country of Bahrain and pressed for the ouster of the ruler in poverty-plagued Yemen.

Obama said there are limits to U.S. influence as people in the Mideast agitate for change.

"These are sovereign countries that have to make their own decisions," he said. "What we can do is lend moral support."

In Iran, in particular, Obama said, "America cannot dictate what happens." But he added that the U.S. hope and expectation "is that we're going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedom and a more representative government."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Interactive: The Egypt effect

  1. Above: Interactive The Egypt effect
  2. Timeline Recent Middle East unrest

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