Eric Randolph is the Deputy Bureau Chief for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Istanbul, Turkey. Previously, he held the equivalent post in Tehran, Iran. (July 2019)

Follow Eric Randolph on Twitter: @EricWRandolph.

NYR DAILY

An Iranian Dissident’s Tale

Kian Tajbakhsh, New York City, July 25, 2019

Kian Tajbakhsh wanted to own his punishment—to see himself as part of a struggle, alongside millions of other Iranians, that may have been fruitless but had been worth fighting for. His interrogators had been coaching him for his appearance at the trial, but when he took the stand, Kian diverted from the script in a small but crucial way. He told the judge his real crime had not been treason, but the naivety to believe that the Islamic Republic could ever be compatible with Western-style democracy.