From The Times
Supporters of Iran’s regime have desecrated the grave of Neda Soltan, the student who became a symbol of the opposition after she was shot dead during an anti-goverment demonstration on June 20.
The incident was confirmed by Ms Soltan’s fiancé, Caspian Makan, who fled from Iran after being released on bail following 65 days in prison. A recording of Ms Soltan’s mother weeping and cursing those responsible has been posted on the internet.
Mr Makan, 38, also disclosed that the regime tried to force him and Ms Soltan’s parents to say that she was killed by the opposition, not by a government militiaman on a motorbike as eyewitnesses have claimed. A documentary to be shown on BBC Two next week contains an unseen clip of demonstrators catching the militiaman seconds after the shooting.
On the internet recording Hajar Rostami, Ms Soltan’s mother, weeps over her daughter’s grave and wails: “Woe on me! Where’s my child’s tombstone? . . . My child has no gravestone . . . You bastards! Why don’t you leave my child alone?”
On November 4 Ms Soltan’s parents were attacked and detained when they joined a protest in Iran. One source told The Times that members of the security forces taunted them, saying that they could meet the same fate as their daughter.
Officials had been pressurising Ms Soltan’s parents to say that their daughter was shot not by a government militiaman — a basij — but by enemies of Iran seeking to embarrass the regime. They were told that if they did so she would be declared a martyr and they would receive a pension.
In October Ms Soltan’s mother said: “Neda died for her country, not so that I could get a monthly income from the Martyr Foundation. If these officials say Neda was a martyr, why do they keep wiping off the word ‘martyr’ in red which people write on her gravestone? . . . Even if they give the world to me I will never accept the offer.”
Arash Hejazi, the doctor who tried to save Ms Soltan’s life and who now lives in exile in Oxford, told The Times: “The beating and arrest of Neda’s parents, the shattering of her tombstone, and the torturing and imprisonment of her boyfriend only shows how far this government is ready to go.”