Fighting a Regime He Helped Create

VIENNA, Va. — From a dim basement just down the street from a train station here, Mohsen Sazegara is working to overthrow the leadership of Iran.

He’s done it before. Thirty years ago, as a hot-headed young revolutionary in a Paris suburb, he helped topple Iran’s last monarch, the shah, putting today’s Islamic regime in power.

“Iranians across the world have found each other again,” says Mr. Sazegara, sipping homemade sour-cherry juice, an Iranian summertime drink, in his basement. Thirty years ago he co-founded the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s feared security force. Today he makes YouTube videos teaching Iranians how to evade the Revolutionary Guards and stage nonviolent uprisings.

Mr. Sazegara’s unusual career — from revolutionary, to ultimate Tehran insider, to opposition video maker in his basement — helps explain why Iran is especially worried about the global nature of the “Green Movement” calling for regime change in Iran. His weekly videos rack up thousands of hits.

He’s one of several prominent Iranian figures pressing the cause world-wide. Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf traveled to Washington, D.C., in recent weeks to plead for economic sanctions against Iran. Akbar Ganji, a former journalist who uncovered killings of lawyers,
journalists and writers by Iran’s regime, has organized rallies and hunger strikes in New York attracting thousands.

Part of Mr. Sazegara’s influence stems from…

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