Fiancé of slain Iranian protestor: Neda wanted freedom
Two days after video depicting death of Iranian protestor in Tehran who has become symbol of reformist struggle, young woman's fiancé speaks to press, saying she was not politically affiliated. Iranian exile who uploaded footage to Web: I knew world would be shocked
"She said a number of times that even if she dies and takes a bullet to the heart, which apparently is what happened, it will be a step forward. Neda, in her young age, taught a lesson to many people," said Makan in an interview with the BBC.
He noted that she was not affiliated with any political camp. "Neda's goal was not Mousavi or Ahmadinejad, but her homeland. It was important to her that the homeland advance a step forward."
Neda Sultani was shot by a Besij snipers, who were apparently riding on motorcycles, on Amir Abad Street in Tehran on Saturday. The video that has been circulating on the Internet, making the young woman into a symbol of the Iranian reformist opposition, shows her last moments before being shot in the company of her father.
Makan said of Saturday's events, "When it happened, she was far away from the confrontations." According to him, she was there with her music teacher. After the event, he said, "They tried to evacuate her to a hospital, but she died in the arms of her teacher before getting there." He added that Neda was buried on Sunday evening in the cemetery in Tehran.
Makan complained that the Iranian authorities blocked the family from holding a memorial ceremony in a mosque, as is customary, the day after the burial. "They knew that everyone in Iran and abroad was sorrowed by her death and that many people would show up. They didn't want uproar to be created because of it," he said.
Neda in her final moments (excerpt from YouTube video)
In reference to the falsified photographs depicting Neda wearing a green headband that were distributed on the Internet, apparently by Mousavi supporters, Makan said that she was not politically affiliated with either side of the current struggle. According to him, "Neda wanted freedom, freedom for everyone."
The man who published the video on the Internet also spoke with the foreign media. "I felt that I had to post video because I tried to show the world what is happening in my country," said Hamed, the Iranian exile who posted the widely watched footage.
Picture of Neda with blood on her face alongside old pictures of her (Photo: AFP)
"My blood pressure dropped. I cried," said Hamed of the moment he saw the footage for the first time. In a telephone interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Hamed added, "The video clip really shocked me, and I was certain that anyone in the world seeing it would be shocked by it, be they male or female."
'A young woman was just killed next to me'
Hamed recounted in a sea of emotions that as he was writing with an Iranian friend on the social networking site Facebook, his friend told him, "My wife came home and someone was killed next to her on Amir-Abed Street, and my wife's clothes were stained with blood."
Upon reading this, Hamed erased the conversation with his friend and went on a mission calling a number of friends in Tehran until he could understand what was going on the area. A friend of his, the person responsible for filming the video, wrote to him that "a young woman was just killed next to me," and asked if Hamed could post the video footage he just shot.
The video was sent to Hamed via email, and shortly made its way to YouTube. Just moments after posting the video to YouTube, Hamed started receiving thousands of emails regarding the footage. He sent the video to the BBC and CNN, and from there, the video quickly became a symbol of the reformist struggle in Iran.