Her name is Neda and her death has become the central rallying cry of the Iranian rebellion. The fresh-faced teenage girl [pictured above] killed by a single sniper shot on the streets of Tehran Saturday is now a potent symbol for Iran's pro-democracy protesters.
Her shocking and quick death in the arms of her howling father was captured on closeup video, posted to Facebook and came to life on computer screens across the globe.
"RIP Neda, the world cries seeing your last breath," was one of a flood of messages on Twitter. "They killed Neda, but not her voice," read another. "Neda is everyone's sister, everyone's daughter, everyone's voice for freedom," said a third.
Within hours of her death, posters of the girl's face, open-eyed and bloody, were being brandished by demonstrators.
He identified her as Neda Soltani, a philosophy student. A Facebook group created to mourn her calls her "The Angel of Iran."
Tehran [is] bracing for more unrest today when thousands are expected to mourn the girl's death.
[New York Daily News]
[CONTENT WARNING: The serioiusly unsettling and graphic video of her death is viewable at this link:
The Fight over Iran's Future Is Only Beginning. -Amir Taheri
As the principal face of the opposition, Mir Hossein Mousavi has come under pressure to wind up the movement. On Saturday, the head of Iran's security council, issued a veiled death threat.
Mousavi's wife and principal campaign manager, Zahra Rahnavard, has retaliated by publishing a poem through Twitter and SMS sent to millions of Iranians:
"Let the wolves know that in our tribe / If the father dies, his gun will remain / Even if all the men of the tribe are killed / A baby son will remain in the wooden cradle."
A Death Seen Around the World -Nazila Fathi
A gunshot rang out, and the woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, fell to the ground. “It burned me,” she said before she died.
The video has made Ms. Soltan, a 26-year-old who relatives said was not political, an instant symbol of the antigovernment movement.
Only scraps of information are known about Ms. Agha-Soltan. Her friends and relatives were mostly afraid to speak, and the government broke up public attempts to mourn her. She studied philosophy and took underground singing lessons — women are barred from singing publicly in Iran. Her name means voice in Persian, and many are now calling her the voice of Iran.
[New York Times]