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December 16th, 2009
02:06 PM ET

The 25 people who mattered in 2009

Neda Agha-Soltan was killed on June 29, 2009

Neda Agha-Soltan was killed on June 29, 2009

Time

We'll never know the man who stood in front of those tanks in Tiananmen Square, but we do know Neda Agha-Soltan: we've looked into her eyes. For one gut-wrenching moment, as she lay dying from the bullet in her heart on that Tehran side street last June, Neda stared directly into the cell phone that was about to immortalize her. Within hours, millions of people around the world had been beseeched by those fading eyes, making an intimate connection with the 27-year-old music student and the cause for which she was killed by the thugs of an embattled regime. Before Neda's murder, the street protests against Iran's stolen election had been a revolution without a face, doomed to be crushed by brute authority and eventually forgotten. But Neda's dying gaze drew the eyes of the world. We can neither look away nor forget.

Go here to discover all 25 people who mattered in 2009

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