Sympathy for the Devil

As night fell last Wednesday on Mohseni Square in north Tehran, a crowd of 2,000 Iranians filled nearby Mirdamad Street, ignoring the shouts of police ordering them to disperse. The frightened group assembled to hold a vigil for the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The Iranians — mostly young and middle class — held candles in the air and defiantly sang Iran's pre-revolutionary anthem as Mirdamad Street flickered in a sea of candlelight. Then, emboldened by growing numbers, they began to chant, "Marg bar terrorist (Death to terrorists)."

These Iranians, painfully aware of their country's...

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