Neda, murdered 1 year ago, documentary “For Her”

June 20, 2010


Today is the 1 year anniversary of Iranian Neda Agha Soltan’s public execution.

Her crime?

Daring to stand in a public street.


The murderer?

A Basij military man who knew who he was shooting and why.

Neda was shot in the upper left chest just inches away from his aim: her face.

And in the seconds it took for the cellphone videographer to reach her face Neda was dead.


Despite following the rules that matter: she was properly accompanied and had her hair hidden under the obligatory black head covering (to which Neda had added a baseball cap).

The “reason” for Neda’s execution seemed obvious then and now has been confirmed in the documentary “For Neda“. It is the story of Neda as spoken by her family and friends as written, produced and directed by ANTONY THOMAS.

THOMAS: [Neda] is any girl, anywhere, but this just wasn’t anywhere. I wanted to show the people who demonstrated, whatever happened, that their courage has not been forgotten.

The narrator is  SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO, who played the aunt instrumental in getting the story of her (movie) niece Soraya M’s public execution by stoning out of Iran: “The Stoning of Soraya M”. [I thought there was a post about it here but I don’t see it.]

Watch Neda’s story for yourself.

“For Her” video: HBO (trailer, full length)

Not endorsing HBO or anything else.

LIVE video – even from shaky cellphones – speaks for itself.

Nov 17, 2009: 24 y/o SAEED KAMALI DEHGHAN, who had been in Iran reporting for CNN and the London Guardian, was able to get in to Iran to film Neda’s family – sister, brother, mother and father. They speak of Neda the woman and girl. They show photos and video of her dancing and laughing and proudly display her “banned” books and “girlie” clothes.

Her mother, HAJAR ROSTAMI, said Neda was the first in her high school to refuse to wear a chador. Her brother, who has neither shaved nor cut his hair since her murder, said Neda would tell him that women ‘cannot live like human beings’ in Iran. Her sister looks like Rachel Ray with platinum streaks.

Her father described Neda as fearless.

I loved her and respected her so much for this courage.

As for his daughter’s murderer:

You will never find the murderer. If the murderer was not from this government, you would have found him. But because he is from this government, you will never find him.

I recognized DR ARASH HEJAZI through his voice. His physical appearance has changed quite a bit. In the cellphone video of Neda’s murder, he is on her left side trying to stop the bleeding. Some of the details he mentioned were new and a few at odds at what he had previously said.

Iranian women included in the film:

AZAR NAFISI, PhD discusses laws targeting women’s freedoms, Neda’s books, religion

RUDI BAKHTIAR, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, personal experience

ROYA BOROUMAND, PhD, Abdorrahmon Boroumand Foundation:

As a woman, you have to disappear in the public eye.

You cannot be.

So the more you attract attention to yourself, the more you are targeted because you are not supposed to be.

You are supposed to be invisible.

LADAN BOROUMAND, PhD, Abdorrahmon Boroumand Foundation:

What is unbearable and ignominious is the power that a regime claims to control your body and this is a direct attack to your freedom and dignity. And I think that is what makes the whole issue of dress code unbearable.

GOOGOOSH, Iranian singer, in exile:

It’s wonderful that my music resonated so well with Neda. But her voice is more powerful than mine. She speaks to all the world.

Neda in Persian means “voice”.

There is video of women being “inspected” upon entering Tehran University and Neda’s college friend tells a funny story of Neda distracting the women so she (the friend) could pass by with her pink heels.

Neda’s mother told a story of Neda being stopped by 3 Basiji women just prior to her execution.

One woman said to Neda: Dear, please don’t come out looking so beautiful.

Neda smiled with her pretty teeth and said: Am I beautiful?

Same woman: You are very, very lovely. Do us a favor and don’t come out because the Basiji men target beautiful girls. And they wlll shoot you.

Second woman: I am also a psychologist. And I know the danger of beauty to these men.

I know the danger of beauty to these men.

Neda was murdered simply because she was a woman. A beautiful woman.

Evil destroying good in the most concrete fashion.

And the murderer?

An obese middle-aged Basij member.

He was captured by eyewitnesses and admitted to shooting her but all they could do was take his ID papers and video/pix of him and let him go.

REZA DEKHATI, Iranian photographer (male) re the “Fundamentalists”:

They cannot control themselves in front of beauty.

They want to kill it.

Various explanations by the Iranian government

1-There was no murder – Neda was alive and well in Greece.

2-CIA bullet found in Neda’s brain

3-HAMID PANAHI (Neda’s music teacher) was hauled in and forced to say it protesters shot her.

4-Shot by BBC correspondent

5-Video is a fake – it never happened.

5-Dr Hejazi did it.

As in Neda was an actress who splashed her face with fake blood and was later killed by her co-conspirators Dr Hejazi and Mr Panahi.

Iranian State TV (Press TV) made a documentary about Neda’s murder. Their conclusion:

According to the documentary, forensic evidence and statements by security officials show Neda was not killed in the way shown by western media. Dr Hejazi and Neda’s music teacher are members of a team that carried out the plot.

6-Beating/bribing Neda’s parents to say enemies of Iran murdered Neda.

I don’t know when exactly they finished filming but there was no mention of Neda’s family being harassed and nothing about her parent’s beating or the attempted bribery by the State, which involved the offer of “martyr” money, which of course her mother refused:

Neda died for her country, not so that I could get a monthly income from the Martyr Foundation.


Neda did not die in vain, and they won’t let her die in vain. Not her, not every other life that’s been lost. They will change Iran. It’s over. It’s over. It’s a long battle ahead. But it is the beginning of the end.


Recent events have shown how powerless and how fearful this regime is, and that violence is the last thing left in its arsenal. And no regime is able to sustain itself just purely on violence.


As a doctor, I’ve seen death many times. But Neda’s innocence, the injustice of her death, and her gaze before she passed away mean I can never heal.

It was not randomness that a well-respected Iranian-born physician who speaks, writes and translates English and who had the means to leave the country, was at Neda’s side when she was executed. The uncertainty was whether he could summon the courage to come forward and bear witness to her death. And, as he said, he found that courage in Neda’s dying eyes.

Dr Hejazi lives in exile in the UK. His life will always be at risk.

BBC interview: Dr who tried to save Neda (video)
Videographers of Neda’s murder win Goerge Polk award
Ron Buitenhuis: “We Believe” (Neda’s Song)
PBS video: A Death in Tehran
Neda 2009 UK Times Person of the Year
Manifesto of the Liberation of Women in Iran

Dr Hejazi (11-09) article: “The Power of Neda: Media Revolution in Iran”

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