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Death Video Iranian Woman 'Shot by Militia': Fiancé - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A woman identified on Flickr as Neda Agha Soltani is seen in an undated headshot. (R)

A woman identified on Flickr as Neda Agha Soltani is seen in an undated headshot. (R)

LONDON (AFP) – A young Iranian woman whose death during protests in Iran has made her a symbol for the opposition was an innocent bystander who was targeted by the militia, her fiancée said.

Video of the final moments of Neda Agha-Soltan, with blood pouring from her nose after she was reportedly shot in the chest in Tehran on Saturday, has been flashed around the world on the Internet.

Her fiancé, Caspian Makan, told London-based BBC Persian television on Monday that she had stumbled into the running battles between opposition supporters and Iranian security forces.

He said: “She was near the area, a few streets away, from where the main protests were taking place, near the Amir-Abad area. She was with her music teacher, sitting in a car and stuck in traffic.

“She was feeling very tired and very hot. She got out of the car for just a few minutes.

“That’s when she was shot dead. Eyewitnesses and video footage of the shooting clearly show that probably Basij paramilitaries in civilian clothing deliberately targeted her. Eyewitnesses said they clearly targeted her and she was shot in the chest.

“She passed away within a few minutes. People tried to take her to the nearest hospital, the Shariati hospital. But it was too late.”

Makan said Neda’s family struggled to persuade the Iranian authorities to release her body.

“She was taken to a morgue outside Tehran. The officials from the morgue asked if they could use parts of her corpse for body transplants for medical patients,” he said.

“They didn’t specify what exactly they intended to do. Her family agreed because they wanted to bury her as soon as possible.

“We buried her in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. They asked us to bury her in this section where it seemed the authorities had set aside spaces for graves for those killed during the violent clashes in Tehran last week.”

The fiancé told the Farsi-language broadcaster that Iranian authorities banned Neda’s family from holding a memorial service for her at a mosque because they were afraid it could become the focus of opposition protests.

“The authorities there and the paramilitary group, the Basij, wouldn’t allow it because they were worried it would attract unwanted attention and they didn’t want any more trouble,” he said.

“The authorities are aware that everybody in Iran and throughout the whole world knows about her story. So that’s why they didn’t want a memorial service. They were afraid that lots of people could turn up at the event.”

Iranian state TV has said that 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured during demonstrations on Saturday, the eighth day of the political crisis sparked by the disputed presidential election results.

Iranian women show a poster of the slain Iranian protester named Neda as they drive during a protest against the recent Iranian elections, outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles. (AFP)

Iranian women show a poster of the slain Iranian protester named Neda as they drive during a protest against the recent Iranian elections, outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles. (AFP)

Iranian light candles in front the image of Neda Agha Soltan, who was reportedly killed when hit by a bullet during a protest in Tehran two days ago, in Dubai. (AP)

Iranian light candles in front the image of Neda Agha Soltan, who was reportedly killed when hit by a bullet during a protest in Tehran two days ago, in Dubai. (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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