A woman cries in Tehran. By Newsha Tavakolian in 2010.

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I’m guessing it’s because of the election protests in 2009. There were anniversary protests the following year this photo was taken. Young people in the country had grown tired of the incumbent President Ahmadinejad and the theocratic rule of the country. Many suspected Ahmadinejad’s successful elections were rigged anyway. In 2010, 5,000 dissenters were arrested and at least 115 executed.

There were blackouts of internet and cell service. Snipers taking potshots at people in the streets. Religious death squads riding around and snatching up some of the more vocal and demonstrative of the opposition. Many detainees reported enduring sodomy, rape, assault, and torture while in captivity. These were massive, peaceful demonstrations by the way. The protesters were labeled as heretics and were waging a war against God according to the supreme leader of the theocracy.

In the stretch of 2009-11 the uprisings in Iran, Egypt and Libya were some of the most captivating things I’ve ever seen unfold on the news. You couldn’t help but sympathize with the Iranians. There was an undeniable unity among the protesters and true desire to move on with the rest of the world. Shit was cray.

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