Iran's Exiles
New York Times / ROGER COHEN

NEW YORK — First Negar Azizmoradi contacted me and then I read about Mohammed Reza Heydari: two Iranians, two exiles, one truth of a people defrauded and denied.

I’ll take Heydari first. He’s the brave Iranian diplomat in Norway who defected, having been asked to change the vote tally he’d certified: 650 votes cast at the Oslo embassy, of which 540 (or 83 percent) were for the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, a result consistent with cable traffic he saw from other embassies.

“The will of the people was clear” Heydari told The Wall Street Journal’s Margaret Coker. I believe it was. Change this number, change that number — and soon enough you can pluck President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s fantastical 62.63 percent from the air.

Three days after that result in Iran’s June 12 election was announced, I met Negar for a few minutes. She was beside me by chance on the avenue between Enghelab (Revolution) Square and Azadi (Freedom) Square in central Tehran. Side by side we walked in a crowd later estimated at over two million people, an Iran that had arisen to protest the theft of ballots.

Seldom have dignity and indignation coalesced in such resolve as on that Monday, June 15. “Where is the 63 percent?” asked one banner. I turned to Negar. “There has been a big cheat,” she said. “We were hoping that after 30 years we might have a little choice.”

Negar smiled and was gone — forever I thought.

Nine month... >>>

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