Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre / The Daily Sundial
Iranian-American student Esha Momeni, who was imprisoned for a month in Iran last Fall and then prevented from leaving the country until last week, described her ordeal to the Daily Sundial, CSUN’s student newspaper.
The entire interview is fascinating, and the story of Momeni’s ordeal certainly is heartwarming. But perhaps the most amazing part comes from Momeni’s depiction of the past two months, in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed presidential election.
A supporter of candidate Mehdi Karroubi, Momeni said she voted for him because he was the only person who questioned the laws discriminating against Iranian women. She found Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad’s main competition going in to the election, to be fairly conservative in his viewpoints. However, she said it was clear there was more Mousavi support than there was for Ahmadinejad.
Momeni said she has no doubt that the Iranian people didn’t choose Ahmadinejad.
“You could tell Mousavi supporters were 10 times more than Ahmadinejad supporters. So when the results came out we were all shocked. All of us,” she said. “We were expecting some cheating but not to this extent.”
“On Saturday, the day after the election, we came to the street and we saw people marching down the street and so we joined them,” she added. “In that moment I kind of felt like, I’m relieved. At least I let it out.”
Despite being imprisoned for 28 days and interrogated 19 times, despite the fact that she was surely being watched by intelligence agents everywhere she went, Esha Momeni took to the streets and participated in the post-election protests.
What’s more, just as the government’s crackdown on protesters only stoked the flames of popular outrage even more, the experience of being detained in Iran has only made Momeni more passionate about working for change.
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When asked whether this ordeal has made her withdraw from her efforts to increase women’s rights in Iran, Momeni reflected on one of her interrogation sessions.
“One of the interrogators told me, ‘Ms. Momeni, you have a simple flu. And our duty is to prevent it from (becoming) a serious disease.’ I want to tell you that now I have cancer.”