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In the two days since her death, a young Iranian woman has already become a legend, a martyr and a focal point for those in and outside the ongoing Iran election protests. Information about Neda Agha Soltan, including the most basic details of her first and last name, coalesced over the weekend, though there’s no definitive account amidst many other deaths and a lack of free-flowing information from the troubled country. However, Soltan’s death was captured on video, giving an unassailable and emotionally affecting account of its sudden and awful nature.
Soltan, at first described as a teenager but now thought to be 27, was reportedly shot by a pro-government Basiji on a motorcycle or from a rooftop, according to various accounts, after or during a protest march in Tehran she attended with an older man who’s referred to as her father or her teacher. What’s clear from videos taken soon after the young woman was shot is that the wound was in her chest, and that she quickly started bleeding profusely from her face. And there’s no question at all that the video coverage is shocking and moving.
Various copies of the video and one from another angle (all graphic) have been seen thousands of times online, and she has already been memorialized in protests from Tehran to Los Angeles. However, Iran has reportedly banned collective prayers for Soltan.