Inside Iran: Finding 'Volunteers' to Fight Israel

ByABC News
August 4, 2006, 5:32 PM

TEHRAN, Iran, Aug. 4, 2006 — -- Protesters vandalized the British Embassy in Tehran today, shouting "Down with England" as Iranians voiced their anger over the Israeli attacks in Lebanon.

There are now daily demonstrations in support of Hezbollah in Tehran. At the demonstration today, protestors were given the chance to donate money to the cause and to sign up to fight Israel. We saw one petition measuring 25 yards long, as nearly 6,000 names piled up in a couple of hours.

And while there are also hundreds of volunteer suicide bombers, the truth is, the Iranian government is not letting any of these willing participants go to Lebanon, but their public message of support is clear.

"As Britain and America are helping Israel, I think it's only fair for other Muslims to help the Lebanese. Don't you think so? It's tit for tat," said one Iranian.

Not all pro-Hezbollah demonstrations are so well attended. If you look beyond the protests organized by the government, the view of Hezbollah is less positive, even hostile, especially among younger Iranians who oppose their government's conservative Islam.

"Iran has other problems -- poor people, a lot of them, and unemployment," 24-year-old Armin said. "We need to build our own country."

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's repeated public calls for Israel's destruction have gained notoriety for the leader abroad, but at home there is disappointment over his unfulfilled economic promises.

Despite the country's booming oil revenues, unemployment is growing and poverty is rampant.

Echoing the sentiments of Armin, one man told ABC News he thought that Iran should should fix its own house first, and then worry about its friends abroad.