Joshua Tucker theorizes:
I think now the model becomes the Iranian Revolution of 1979 itself. While I am far from an expert on these events, the general story is that protest built up gradually from late 1977 through 1978 and then culminated in regime change only in 1979. Given the memory of these events in the minds of many Iranians - and probably passed along to younger generations by parents and grandparents as well - it strikes me that we at least need to consider the possibility that this will become the new model for the many Iranians that the past weeks revealed are so clearly dissatisfied with the current regime. And to the extent that the events of the last two weeks may have revealed the Iranian regime to be more of your typical petro-dictatorship propped up by security forces (here and here) than its citizens may have believed previously, then perhaps this sort of scenario is slightly more likely than it might have seemed in previous years.