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Pastors began disappearing, especially those who came from a Muslim upbringing and converted. When killing wasn’t enough of a deterrent, Mr. Ahmadinejad and his goons began to lock them up, demanding that they recant their faith since apostasy in Islam is punishable by death.

Today, thanks to organizations such as the American Center for Law and Justice, we have learned about the trials of pastors such as Youcef Naderkhani, who was repeatedly threatened with execution if he did not recant his faith, and Saeed Abedini, an American who was imprisoned during a trip to his homeland and who has been refused medical treatment for the injuries caused by sustained beatings from his jailers.

The Islamic regime in Iran has refined political and religious repression to near mathematical perfection. It seeks to break people, both physically and spiritually. It likes to kill quietly, behind closed doors, beyond the gaze of the outside world.

In their remarkable memoir and at their website,, Marziyeh Amirzadeh and Maryam Rostampour show us a way of wedging open those doors so the light of freedom can burst through.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is president of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran and the author of “Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran” (Crown Forum, 2005).