Demonstrators hold images of imprisoned Iranian Baha'i religious leaders at a protest in Rio de Janeiro, June 2011.
Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS

Iran will elect a new president on May 19. But the real event will take place days before, on May 14, and it will offer more insight into the nature of the regime than managed elections ever could provide.

May 14 will mark the ninth anniversary of the arrests of the Iranian Baha’i leadership, known as the Yaran. These seven men and women managed the religious and worldly needs of Iran’s Baha’i, who make up the country’s largest non-Muslim minority. Iranian authorities condemned them to 20-year prison terms for their alleged misdeeds—charges that included “corruption on earth,” “insulting

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