When Iranians took to the streets the day after they cast their ballots for president, the Western media was presented with a sweeping, dramatic story. After a vigorous election campaign, the country saw an unprecedented turnout of voters on June 12, 2009. When the government announced a prohibitive winner — the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — just after the polls closed, millions of Iranians who felt their votes hadn’t been counted took to the streets to protest. The government responded with violence and sweeping arrests. The leading opposition candidate former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who had spent the campaign trying to prove his reformist bona fides, suddenly embraced the role of civil rights leader, urging his supporters not to back down. The protests continued for months, as did the crackdowns: Dozens were killed, hundreds were placed before show trials, and many were thrown into prison and tortured. With the entire world watching, Iran faced its greatest crisis since the 1979 revolution.