Overnight, a whole movement and mood were vaporized, to the point that they appeared a hallucination.
The crowds called it a “coup d’état.” They shouted “Marg Bar Dictator” — “Death to the dictator.” Eyes smoldered.
I’ve argued for engagement with Iran and I still believe in it, although, in the name of the millions defrauded, President Obama’s outreach must now await a decent interval.
I’ve also argued that, although repressive, the Islamic Republic offers significant margins of freedom by regional standards. I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness.
“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.