After election day, Mehrdad stepped out of his gym, where he had gone to work off his anger, to find the streets full of people lighting fires and throwing stones at panicking security forces. “Our streets had turned into Palestine,” he said. “I’m a peaceful person, but that night I threw stones, too. They had only used us to legitimatize their election of a president who turned out to have been selected. The anger still rages through my body.” Mehrdad was surprised by the reaction of Iran’s leaders to the protests. “We were there participating in one of the pillars of the political system, the election. Nobody shouted slogans against the leader. But now people say extreme things,” he said. “If there is any upside to this dark period, it is the self-confidence and unity of normal people.”
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