Journalistic bravery in Iran

After reading how Iran’s conservative Islamists are tightening their grip on power, it’s astounding and heartening to read a Tehran journalist, writing openly in The New York Times:

The state has a monopoly on public discourse, and intellectuals, whether they are religious, atheist or agnostic, are simply not heard. The mullahs in Qom, the holy city two hours drive southwest of Tehran, can dial the phone number of any revolutionary judge in Iran and order the persecution of anyone who dares to question the authorities and their divine agenda.

And even more bravely:

The vast majority of people here cross their fingers for a sudden explosion, or pray for American successes in Iraq and Afghanistan to increase the price of suppression by the theocracy in Iran.

I’m reminded of Orwell’s description of Charles Dickens: a man “who fights in the open and is not frightened…”