Iran connection makes strange bedfellows in support of OccupyWallStreet

Iran's Supreme Leader, hikers he imprisoned support same movement, different goals

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It's more coincidence than conspiracy, but Iran's Supreme Leader and the three American hikers recently released after being accused of spying in Iran have come out on opposite sides of the OccupyWallStreet protests.

The three hikers – Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd – spoke at a gathering of the Occupy Oakland protest last night, just days after the last two arrived home after being arrested for straying over the Iran-Iraq border on foot and spending 26 months in prison on espionage charges. Sarah Shourd was released in September of last year.

All three said they were inspired by the Oakland protest and OccupyWallStreet (OWS) movement's success.

"I feel proud of this happening in my city," Bauer told the crowd.

Like every other group of more than one participant, the hikers tied their own particular issue – a call for better conditions in California's maximum security prisons – to the broad but nonspecific demands within the OWS movement.

Though mostly from the political left, groups leading the movement have avoided trying to tie it to specific issues or demands, presenting it as a revolution of the majority against inequities in power and wealth in the U.S.

Foreign OWS franchises have mostly followed suit, though in Italy and some other European cities existing conflicts arising from the EuroZone financial crisis have taken over part of the agenda and, in Italy at least, attracted protesters more violent than the bulk of OWS participants.

Unwelcome support, inaccurate praise

Despite the deliberate pacifism of the movement, refusal to endorse radical political ideologies or advocate anything resembling overthrow of the government, the success of the OccupyWallStreet movement is an early sign of the collapse of social order and ultimately the power of the United States, according to Iran's unrealistically optimistic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni.

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