It has been clear for days that the regime feared a new wave of protests might break out during the memorial services for those slain on June 20. Two of the defeated presidential candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, applied for permits to hold memorial services in the center of Tehran. The permits were denied -- ostensibly because they were filed too late.
On Thursday morning, both men posted notices on their Web sites saying that despite the official ban they would hold services at 6 p.m. Mousavi then tried to join the mourners at the cemetry but the police forced him to leave, the BBC reports. Spokesmen for the reform movement have been sending e-mails for days with alternative marching routes for mourners in the country's major cities.
For Neda's mother "Arbain," as services on the 40th day are known, marks another turning point. On Tuesday, in a voice raw with emotion and hoarse from sobbing, she swore that when the important day was over, she would hire a lawyer to get to the bottom of Neda's death. She wants a trial, a culprit. She won't accept the government's claims that Neda was slain because of some private feud or by some terrorist.
Motlagh hopes that there will be a parliamentary inquiry to help her in the search for the truth. With some conservative voices in Iran now beginning to criticize the excessive violence of the crackdown and the brutality of the security forces, the regime has put into motion plans for a sort of "truth commission." Parliamentarians are supposed to look into the deaths of some protesters and investigate the long prison sentences of others. According to official statistics, about a 1,000 people were arrested -- between 200 and 500 of whom are still in prison. At least 20 people were killed in clashes with police and security forces. Human rights groups say the numbers are even higher, citing the names of at least 56 known dead.
Motlagh has been through the worst that a mother can suffer. She watched her child die -- on video. Yet she hasn't lost her spirit. "If Neda was alive, she would be out demonstrating on behalf of the dead, and I wouldn't try to stop her," she says. "And I say that to you, even though I know my phone is being tapped."