The Iranian protests unsettled not only the hard-liners in Tehran but also the Obama administration, which has to make policy for a situation that changes as frequently as a Twitter feed.
The silent protest began in Imam Khomeini Square in front of the forbidding Ministry of Telecommunications, which was busy cutting off cellphones but powerless to stop the murmured rage coursing through Tehran. Six days had passed since Iran's disputed June 12 election, but the fury that brought three million people onto the streets the previous Monday showed no sign of abating. "Silence will win against bullets," a woman beside me whispered. Her name was Zahra. She wore a green headband - the color adopted by the campaign of the defeated reformist candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi - and she held a banner saying, "This land is my land." The words captured the popular conviction that not only had President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stolen votes, but he also had made off with Iran's dignity. Slowly the vast crowd began to move north. No chant issued from the throng, only distilled indignation. A young man asked me where I was from. When I told him New York, he shot back: "Give our regards to freedom. It's coming right here!"