Iren Hessami Koltermann

Iren Hessami was old enough to know it was a game, but young enough to be comforted anyway, when her father picked her up from high school and told her to mimic the passions outside. She and her brother, 15 and one year her senior, rolled down the car windows and smiled. The mood was jubilant. A few blocks later, her father motioned to roll the windows up and they became, to anyone in the crowd outside their slow-rolling car, as sullen as any Shah supporter.

Back and forth, Iren swung her mood by neighbourhood on the drive home through Tehran in January 1979 on the day the Shah left in exile, ending decades of power by the pro-Western monarchy. Joy and dismay seemed to erupt equally as their car parted crowds across the capital. Iren didn’t panic because her father kept his head: Play along, he told them.