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Iran State TV Suggests Neda's Iconic Protest Death Was 'Faked'

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Iranian state television has produced a documentary suggesting the shooting death of a young woman whose final moments were captured on video during postelection protests was a fake.

Neda and her bust created by Paula Slater

The program alleges that 27-year-old Neda Agha Soltan, who has become a symbol of opposition to the Iranian authorities' response to street protests and allegations of vote fraud, was an agent of the United States and Britain.

That scenario is in line with official comments that repeatedly called Neda's death "suspicious" and pre-planned by Iran's "enemies."

Iran's English-language international broadcaster, Press TV, aired a report on January 5 detailing the substance of the allegations.

The program says that Neda threw blood on her own face before being shot dead in the car that was taking her to the hospital.

"Neda for a moment realizes their wicked plan and struggles to escape, but they quickly shoot her from behind," the narrator claims.

Among participants in the "plot" identified in the documentary are Arash Hejazi, a writer and physician who tried to save Neda and later said a Basij militia member shot her and was briefly detained by onlookers, and Neda's music teacher, who was with her at the time of her death.

Contacted by RFE/RL, Hejazi, who said he wasn't in the car that took Neda to the hospital, described the documentary as shameful.

The commander of Iran's Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Baghid, alleged in November that "someone from America" killed Neda.

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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