The Western media, who do their best no doubt, seem to be altogether behind the curve.  The chunterings of ex-diplomats and scribblings of desk-bound geostrategists appear to miss the mark still further. In the words of one Iranian youth, “The time is now or never.”

The murder yesterday of the young woman Neda, apparently watching with her father and a philosophy lecturer  from the sidelines, has changed the mood of the Persian nation overnight. In this clip, not for the faint-hearted, the father shouts, “Neda don’t be scared, Neda don’t be scared,” and then shouts, “Neda stay, Neda stay.” But she is suddenly surprised by death.

The postings on the internet that have followed are unlike anything seen so far, as the outrage and sympathy are beyond anything hitherto known. She was young, beautiful and had done no harm to anybody. She probably had voted for the first time a week ago.

Much viewed on the net are the details of the foreign embassies able to take in dead and wounded. No doubt this is to prevent them from being arrested in hospital or their bodies being removed by the militias and secretly buried:

Scores of injured protesters who had sought medical treatment were arrested by security forces at hospitals in the capital, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran claimed. The organisation said doctors had been ordered to report protest-related injuries to the authorities, and some seriously injured protesters had sought refuge at foreign embassies in an attempt to evade arrest […]

─ as reported by the Guardian today, 21 June 2009.

These events are surely of historic importance, with immediate security implications for us in the UK, for America, for Israel, for the US, for Europe. Jihadist causes everywhere will suffer if there is any significant liberalisation of the Iranian Islamic Revolution.

One cannot help but observe that these clerical busybodies are incredibly stupid. If there is anything lacking in their efforts to shoot themselves in the foot, they will find it sooner or later. The choice of candidates was mistaken, their espousal of Ahmadinejad was mistaken, the gloriously botched poll was mistaken, their response to protests was mistaken. They seem to be determined to bring about their own downfall. Ignorance and viciousness go hand in hand, discrediting at a stroke any spiritual pretensions the religious leaders may have. If there is any further disgrace to be brought upon Islam, they will find it.

As Ivy Compton Burnett wrote, ‘People with power react simply – they know no mind but their own.’

In the 1930s the fascist dictators sometimes had a comic charm, especially in the near east. There is a story of Kemal Atatürk and Reza Shah, father of the late Shah of Iran, alighting at a provincial railway station and being greeted by a deputation of local notables, led by a group of mullahs. Atatürk strode forward and pulled the nearest white beard. “Why do you allow yourselves to be led by such people?” he demanded.

Ayatollah Khomeini affected to despise the study of economics, saying that this subject was for donkeys. It is surely time now for economics to be taken away from the donkeys. If I had been within reach of the podium on Friday, how I should have liked to have pulled the beard of the current donkey! Khamanei and his doddery friends need to shave their beards, pack their suitcases and hope that they are not recognised at the airport, en route for their Swiss bank accounts.

And for Iran, this great nation, a future without turbans and beards!