I appeal to you, generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the Pásdárán: Do what I did! Defend the people, not the tyrant. I am a two-star general who was once at the top of communist Romania’s version of the Pásdárán, the Securitate, and I learned the hard way that no tyrant can keep a country’s people enchained for ever.

I have been in your shoes. In December 1988, the Romanians took to the streets to overthrow their two-bit Dracula dictator, Ceausescu, just re-enthroned at the end of a rigged election, just as the people of Iran are trying now to get rid of their Hitler-style dictator, just re-enthroned at the end of another rigged election. Like Ahmadinejad, Ceausescu also ordered his security forces to open fire against the population.

I sided with the people.