Nightly News | February 15, 2011
>>> all it took was the biggest nation in the arab world to get the attention of an entire region. now tonight you can almost follow the sparks. the growing embers of uprising that started in tunisia, spread to egypt and may go further. it appears aura geems are not prepared to tolerate what we saw unfold in cairo . the seeds are there in iran , bahrain and yemen , perhaps beyond there. again tonight we begin with richard engel in cairo on post.
>> reporter: the protests have been spreading across the region, but so far appear to be strongest in iran , which already had an organized opposition movement. inspired by egypt , iranians are finding the courage to relaunch their revolt against the regime in tehran . thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in tehran on monday. at least one protester was killed. for many, it's all too familiar. the iranian government violently repressed similar demonstrations in 2009 after elections, many iranians claim were stolen by mahmoud ahmadinejad . this time iran is making clear right from the start, it will not tolerate a new round of protests. iran 's parliament today issued a fierce warning, calling for the execution of protest leaders, including former pren shasidential candidate and even the moderate ex-president. they may not be empty threats. iran hanged two activists last year on charges of plotting against the regime. nbc's tehran bureau chief is one of the few western journalists working in iran .
>> iran sees itself as the vanguard of islam. they would like to see a more islamic government in egypt , one that's closer to iran and further from america. on the other hand they didn't want events in egypt to travel to iran , which is what happened yesterday.
>> reporter: president mahmoud ahmadinejad called it a western conspiracy . president obama sided with the demonstrators.
>> i find it ironic you have the iranian regime pretending to celebrate what happened in egypt , when in fact they have acted in direct contrast to what happened to egypt by gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully in iran .
>> reporter: it's not just iran . revolts are spreading across the region, including to u.s. allies. in bahrain , base of the u.s. navy 's fifth fleet, protesters clashed with security forces for a second day. two demonstrators have been killed, including one shot at a funeral. the king of bahrain said he would inch vest gate the shootings. bahrain has already promised to pay every family in the country $3,000, a gift from the kingdom. yemen , a poor country on the tip of the arabian peninsula can't afford such scenes. like in egypt , yemen 's demonstrators want to topple their president of three decades, accusing him of corruption. but yemen is already fighting two civil wars and has an active al qaeda cell that sent bombs to the u.s. on planes last october. here in egypt , former president remains hidden. but the ripple effects from the revolution here may just be beginning.
>> our chief foreign correspondent richard engel starting us off again tonight in cairo . richard, thanks.