Mehrangiz Kar, an Iranian attorney and activist, is currently in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. The author of 13 books, she was jailed in Iran in April 2000 on charges of “threatening national security,” and remains barred from appearing publicly there. In 2001–02, she was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the International Forum for Democratic Studies. In 2002, she received the Ludovic Trarieux Prize for her work in defense of human rights. The following essay is based on remarks that she delivered at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C., on 30 May 2002. They were originally translated by Hormoz Hekmat, editor of Iran Nameh, a social-science journal published in Persian by the Foundation for Iranian Studies.