"If There Is No Iran, Let Me Be Not"


Roger Cohen:

“Here is my country,” a young woman said to me, voice breaking. “This is a coup. I could have worked in Europe but I came back for my people.” And she, too, sobbed. “Don’t cry, be brave,” a man admonished her. He was from the Interior Ministry. He showed his ID card. He said he’d worked there 30 years. He said he hadn’t been allowed in; nor had most other employees. He said the votes never got counted. He said numbers just got affixed to each candidate. He said he’d demanded of the police why “victory” required such oppression. He said he’d fought in the 1980-88 Iraq war, his brother was a martyr, and now his youth seemed wasted and the nation’s sacrifice in vain. Quoting Ferdowsi, the epic poet, he said, “If there is no Iran, let me be not.”

(Photo: A supporter of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi throws flowers during riots in Tehran on June 13, 2009. By Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty.)