"Why do I not go back? Because I am so tired of lying. In my former life, I was a journalist working for the state TV. It may seem like a privileged existence: having a well-paid job and recognition, but do you know how it feels to tell lies all the time - even though you know better? Or not to keep quiet about things, which in itself, is a lie as well?
Independent research was not possible in my job. Own ideas? Forget it! Everything you suggest independently is put into question until nothing is left. Working as a journalist is a real mockery in Iran.
Every three to six months I had to take another test in Iranian civics, as they called it. But they would ask random questions like: 'What did the Mullah say about a certain topic at Friday prayers'. How should I know, I wasn't even listening?! In these cases, you were completely at the interviewee's mercy - all the time! I was very dependent on the money I earned but at one point, I asked myself: 'Do I really want to tell lies for the rest of my life?'
I enrolled on a summer course in Italy to learn the language. This is when I decided that I had already waved goodbye to my country of birth. I went back once more and then I left for good. I couldn’t even say goodbye to my parents.
Today, I can say that I am one of the core activists of the Iranian opposition outside of the country. Before 12 June, I would have never thought this could be me. Until the elections I really thought that it would take just a little bit of freedom for people to finally get some room to breathe. Now I’m convinced it takes more. What we need is another revolution."