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Iran’s Green Movement Never Went Away

Ten Years On, the Islamic Republic Only Strengthens What It Represses

Supporters of the Iranian opposition movement at the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in Qom, Iran, December 2009 Stringer / Reuters

Ten years ago today, shortly after Iran’s presidential election on June 14, 2009, millions of people took to the streets of Tehran chanting, “Where is my vote?” The protests that came to be known as the Green Movement shook the Islamic Republic like nothing had since its founding in 1979.

Among the unforgettable images from those days were those of women and men marching side by side, not only protesting the dishonesty of the election results but also refusing to submit to the government’s repressive presence in almost all aspects of their lives. They did so at great risk. State security forces, including agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, arrested thousands of protesters, dozens of whom lost their lives. The movement’s leaders—former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi and political activist Zahra Rahnavard—have remained under house arrest since 2011.

By the end of 2009, the state largely

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