Iran: More on the life and death of Neda Agha-Soltan


An amazing piece by Borzou Daragahi, in Tehran, from today's LA Times on the life and death of Neda Agha-Soltan (shown above in a family photo). Her death, documented on cellphone video and spread online, has become a potent spiritual emblem for the popular uprising in Iran.
The first word came from abroad. An aunt in the United States called her Saturday in a panic. "Don't go out into the streets, Golshad," she told her. "They're killing people."

The relative proceeded to describe a video, airing on exile television channels that are jammed in Iran, in which a young woman is shown bleeding to death as her companion calls out, "Neda! Neda!"

A dark premonition swept over Golshad, who asked that her real name not be published. She began calling the cellphone and home number of her friend Neda Agha-Soltan who had gone to the chaotic demonstration with a group of friends, but Neda didn't answer.

At midnight, as the city continued to smolder, Golshad drove to the Agha-Soltan residence in the eastern Tehran Pars section of the capital. As she heard the cries and wails and praising of God reverberating from the house, she crumpled, knowing that her worst fears were true. "Neda! Neda!" the 25-year-old cried out. "What will I do?"

Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was shot dead Saturday evening near the scene of clashes between pro-government militias and demonstrators who allege rampant vote-count fraud in the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The jittery cellphone video footage of her bleeding on the street has turned "Neda" into an international symbol of the protest movement that ignited in the aftermath of the June 12 voting. To those who knew and loved Neda, she was far more than an icon. She was a daughter, sister and friend, a music and travel lover, a beautiful young woman in the prime of her life.

Family, friends mourn Iranian woman whose death was caught on video (via @eecue)


  1. I personally find the situation in Iran heart breaking, but it must be a thousand times worse for the Iranian people. Iran’s claim to pride and fame was that they were a functional democratic alternative to western democracies. Their claim was that they were proof that you can have a functioning Islamic republic… and by I republic I mean an actual republic… you know, with voting.

    Now though? Imagine how crushing and shocking it must have been to learn that you do not actually live in a democratic republic. It would be like if in the past election Obama not only lost, but managed to get only half of the votes and suffered a crushing defeat in Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston. There is a big difference between a contested election where a small amount of rigging might have happened that might have tipped the scales, and the large scale “fuck you voters” that went on in Iran.

    Small scale corruption happens and, but it doesn’t void your democracy. Some times that small scale corruption can tip the scales in a closely contested election. It happens, but it doesn’t mean your democracy is illegitimate. It just means that instead of 51% of the vote they have 49% of the vote. It isn’t good, the functional difference of a 2% greater or lesser thumbs up from the populace isn’t the end of the world. What happened in Iran though is entirely different. When a popular opposition candidate gets crushed in their home town, large whole sale rigging is the only possible explanation.

    Like I said, my heart goes out to the Iranian people. I can’t think of many things more crushing to the moral and pride of these people than this.

  2. I don’t mean to be callous for saying this, but it doesn’t hurt her resonance as an image of the regime’s abuses that she was young, and unbelievably beautiful.


  3. I’ve rarely encountered media as compelling as Neda’s death. It is inevitable that this woman’s death will become a critical event in the current events and future of Iran. In fact, I feel that this will be a pivotal piece in the history of media – ranking up there with the legendary photo from Tiananmen Square.

    – David Stein

  4. see also: NedaNet, “a network of hackers formed to support the democratic revolution in Iran. [NedaNet’s] mission is to help the Iranian people by setting up networks of proxy severs, anonymizers, and any other appropriate technologies that can enable them to communicate and organize — a network beyond the censorship or control of the Iranian regime.” As of a couple days ago, Eric S. Raymond is the public contact for NedaNet.

  5. I have a question for you, are you sure that it is a photo of the real Neda? Have you read this article that offers a true portrait of the young woman ?

    It seems to me that this is not the same face, right?

    Otherwise, your article is beautiful. What happened to Neda is dramatic, as other young people have been killed in recent days in Iran. We must help Iranians people as we can to get out of this crisis. Neda, as you said so well, has become a potent spiritual emblem for the popular uprising in Iran. She has also became an emblem of that youth stolen by irresponsible people in Iran.

    Neda Rest In Peace


  6. @Takuan

    Probably the above photo, reduced to its most basic black and white (not grayscale) and then overlayed onto a green shirt made to resemble the Che on a red shirt design.

    That’s what I took it to mean.

  7. Please, let’s do not mix things.

    Neda was a victim. Guevara was a perpetrator. Guevara was closer to the current Iranian government than to Neda.

  8. This kind of reminds me of the vote count fraud that allowed Bush
    to Hijack the United states for 8 horrific years.
    The only difference between the US vote count fraud and The Iran Vote count fraud is the US did not massacre its own.
    These people responsible for this and the other violence in Iran are completely savage, No more mentally or spiritually evolved than the worms that eat the garbage I throw away. These tyrant will suffer from there own diseased characters.

  9. #7 I see the pic in the link you posted is not the one that was posted here.. and the picture of the “actual” neda COULD be this current picture.. the bone structure of the face is similar, just in one pic she’s made up and one she isnt.

  10. my heart goes out to victims and their families in iran …i weep that the freedom of young minds will be stopped …becuase of need to control out of fear … the people in iran are brave to stand up for what they believe is right ..the cost is high …freedom has always had a price matter what country what culture ..what faith..the cost is always high ..but know that freedom no matter how it is defined .. is worth the battle…the freedom to march the freedom to express an opinion ..the freedom to care ..the ordinary people in ordinary countries ..the elected governments have to stop and listen to their people otherwise our country is but a prison … and we are all prisoners.. my prayers to iran and her people

  11. The revenge of the priests was to make Buddha into GOD. I mourn for her family but I don’t want to be a tool. Deception is cruel.

    The Video of this woman bleeding to death is as
    common as any daily statiscal mortality reports on
    the western news. The fact that it is being promoted as newsworthy is suspect the least.

    The sniper schools in most military establishments encourage this kind of kill (Lovely Marksmanship tee shirt in Israel). The audio of this clip tugs at our highest/purist emotional level. Even a vicious dog could empathize with morning sound of Human victims under the shock and aw!@#$ (Never mind-wrong country move on nothing to see here)

    Most are deaf, blind & mute to the cries of burning children & woman were we are adding and abetting carnage. The poor and the hapless in Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan (You fill in the blank county where your tax toil morphs into steel rain) die with very little fan fare from the corporate media.

    I have suspicions of other who parade wrong victims as means of creating more right ones. We have done enough damage, deception only adds fuel this fire.

    The people of Iran will settle this as best fits their destiny, I hope they achieve it through courage & LOVE.

    We (In America/Iran/ Rest of the world) are vulnerable to this kind of propagandistic war pornography. I resist the temptation, our humanity is at stake. We should encourage our
    bankrupt government and its minions to avoid meddling I don’t want another bill for it, we haven’t payed or settle for the FUBAR we are in right now.

  12. ..On thoughts comments .. i agree.. we have no right to stick our meddling actions into countries ..where we have little understanding of its issues …we are not the worlds army ..we came to north america for reasons many vary is important to keep our own shores free and to aid when help other nations..but we cannot fix the world ..nor fight their battles ..we have helped the nations but cannot carry them..or they end up resenting us or us them… what is our business and what isnt needs a new defining.. cause we can no longer think we have the anwsers..cause in all reality we dont even have our own .. but to care about whats happening is a must …we are multi cultured society so when other countries have issues..we feel it profoundly somewhere in our own countries

  13. I think Iran will solve their problems in the way that everyone else solves them. With more guns and hands to hold them then the people that are keeping them down.

    The republics of America and France were not created without bloodshed. I expect Iran’s won’t be either.


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