Zahara Rahnavard is the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mr. Mousavi is running for the Iranian presidency against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 elections. See important election updates below as they become available, including a possible report that Zahara Rahnavard is under house arrest with her husband. Updates below.
Zahra Rahnavard, pictured above with her husband, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been featured in the Mousavi campaign, appearing at most of his events, even giving speeches – a most unusual event for an election in a Muslim country. The idea of an Iranian First Lady being more than shrouded head to foot and knowing her place, is not the norm, but Mrs. Mousavi is definitely being heard and appreciated by Iranian women:
When participating in social activities, our women must feel both secure and liberated. In other words, they must be allowed to freely choose their career, work environment, and clothing [in compliance with Islamic dress code],” Zahra Rahnavard told a gathering of young women who support Mousavi Wednesday.
“The democracy we seek is a religious democracy, which would allow young women of our time to thrive and flourish by providing them with security, freedom, and employment,” added the former chancellor of Tehran’s Al-Zahra University.
Often referred to as “Iran’s Michelle Obama,” young Iranian woman say they want “to be like her in the future.” The right’s of women took enormous steps backward under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Wearing traditional Iranian female dress, she adds a few of her own touches, a floral headscarf, and what is described as a “bohemian” handbag adorned with Iranian tribal symbols.
Rahnavard has slammed Iran’s tough police crackdown on “un-Islamic” attire over the past three years as “the ugliest and dirtiest patronising treatment of women”.
Zahra Rahnavard is 64-years-old and the mother of three daughters. She is a sculptor and painter, and an Arts professor at the University of Tehran. Reportedly, she holds a PhD in Political Science. In 1976 she fled to the U.S. with her children and returned “shortly before Islamic revolutionaries seized power in 1979.” She often walks hand-in-hand with her husband, shocking the senses of Iranians.
Why was not a single woman presidential candidate approved? Why are there no women Cabinet ministers? Why are housewives not covered by insurance?” she asked, referring to demands that women who work inside the home be eligible for unemployment benefits as a way to increase their financial independence.
This must change. Getting rid of discrimination and demanding equal rights with men is the No. 1 priority for women in Iran,” Rahnavard said.
I’ll wish her lots of good luck on that venture.
She has recently threatened to sue the current Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he does not issue an apology to her and her family for claiming that her University degrees may not be valid. “Character assassination is in contract with Islamic ethics,” she said.
Many Iranians have no clues what their presidents’ wives look like, as heads of government, even the reformist Mohammad Khatami, mostly kept their spouses out of the spotlight and shied away from appearing with them at political events or on foreign trips.
Rahnavard is fighting for her own rights, but the rights of others around the world may not be of much interest to her. She promises that if her husband is elected president, Israel will remain the “main” enemy”. There’s no way to read this but that the hate for Israel will go on, will continue to be taught to Iranian children, including her own grandchildren – the abiding hate for Israel survives everything.
Our main and everlasting enemy is Israel. But we will interact with other lands and nations if they regard our national interests,” Zahra Rahnavard said, while addressing an election campaign gathering in Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, promoting her husbands political viewpoints.
Commenting on Iran-US ties, Rahnavard described Iran as an honorable country which always considers its national interest when dealing with foreign policy, and said, “We must change our relations with the world, including the United States, while maintaining our interactions with the world countries.
Keep in mind that Israel does not share a border with Iran. Israel is not “occupying” any portion of Iran. So Israel is a threat to Iranians only because Iran threatens Israel’s demise via a nuclear strike.
Mir Hossein Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, may be an Iranian First Lady, but whatever happens in the 2009 election, the Mullahs run Iran. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran, afterall, and as the Mullahs command, that is how Iran goes.
Update: 6-12-09 2:00 pm CDT: Fox News reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi is claiming that he has won the presidential election in Iran. Earlier today, Ahmadinejad did the same. Fox News says it has no confirmation of the truth of Mousavi’s announcement.
Africasia.com also reports a win for Mousavi, with 65 percent of the vote
Update: 6-12-09 2:30 pm CDT: Iran’s state run media has just declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the “definite” winner. Stay tuned. This isn’t over.
Update: 6-12-09 2:50 pm CDT: Fox News reports that Iran’s Electoral Chief says that Ahmadinejad has prevailed with 69 percent of the vote out of about of 5 million votes cast (Iran has about 40 million eligible voters). Stay tuned.
Update: 6-12-09 2:30 pm CDT: Iran’s state run media has just delared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the “definite” winner. Stay tuned. This isn’t over.
Update: 6-14-09 1:20 pm CDT: Update: 6-14-09 1:03 pm CDT: While rioting has ensued and it is apparent that Ahmadinejad’s win would be upheld, I held back on the updates until there was significant information to report. Here’s the latest:
Mir Hossein Mousavi is reported to be under house arrest. This news originally from a Daily Kos informant “on the ground in Iran.” Hat tip to News Junkie.
This was his message:
Mousavi has been place under house arrest. He was arrested on his way to Khamenei’s house. All communication has been shut off. Khamenei has issued a statement claiming that HE that he is leading this coup to SAVE the Islamic Government.
LA Times on Mousavi’s arrest and rioting:
Huge swaths of the capital erupted in fiery riots that stretched into the early morning Sunday as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared victory in his quest for a second four-year term amid allegations of widespread fraud and a strident challenge of the vote results by his main challenger, who was reportedly placed under house arrest.
Hat tip to News Junkie and from their site:
A tweet was posted in Mousavi’s Twitter account saying that he had been placed under house arrest by the Ministry of Intelligence. This is the tweet.
There are reports that many other leaders in Mousavi’s party have also been arrested: Mosharekat, Mojahedin Enqelab and Ahmad Zaidabadi. Critics within Iran are calling this a “purge” of all reformers. It’s unclear if Ahmadinejad is behind ordering these arrests.
Continuing Civil Unrest
Fires have been set in many parts of the city. The smell of smoke has reached as far Marzdaran. Police are confiscating cameras from people to stop them from sending images outside of Iran. People are using stones to battle the riot police. The Tehranbureau is reporting that as many as 100 people have been killed on the streets of Tehran due to clashes with the police. The AP is also reporting that there are injured Iranians, but didn’t post how many.
Here is what an Iranian citizen has been reporting from the Tehranbureau:
“Here the internet is horrible. After much trouble, I was able t log on through a proxy. I’ll try my best to get the news to you. I have news right now that in Shahrake Gharb [neighborhood in northeast Tehran] is absolute chaos. People are in the streets, they’re chanting. No sign of police. Their protest continues at this hour. I also hear that Niavaran [north Tehran] is a big chaotic too — at least until an hour ago. I’m sorry my information is fragmented. I’m afraid I’ll get disconnected. In Niavaran people are shouting from their homes. That way when police comes they quickly retreat; so they haven’t been able to arrest anyone. I’ve also heard that people captured a few of the Basij guys and gave him a beating. It feels like Martial Law here. Cell phones are down, internet lines are horrible, Facebook is filtered, and … I also have news from Ahvaz. They have also announced there that if someone comes out of their house they will be arrested. So keep your fingers crossed and pray for us.”
More from the LA Times:
Tehran erupted in unrest today as results for the Iranian presidential election pitting incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against leading reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi and two other rivals were announced. Ahmadinejad won big amid record turnout and allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Enraged Mousavi supporters battled police for hours, and it remained unclear whether the unrest would stop anytime soon.
Update: 6-14-09 1:15 pm CDT:
DailyKos reporting on the resignation of Rafsanjani’s resignation in protest to Supreme Leader Khamenei’s endorsement of Ahmadinejad’s election win.
Update: 6-14-09 1:55 pm CDT – This report from the Washington Times mentions someone’s wife has been arrested but you’ll see from the following it is not completely clear whose wife:
Opposition Arrests: Mousavi and Karrubi, along with former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, met at the home of Hashemi-Rafsanjani to plan a response to the election fraud. Mousavi issued a letter denouncing the election and saying “the traitors to the nation’s vote have no fear if this house of Persians burns in flames.” Karrubi issued a statement calling the vote “engineered” and the result of “amateur fixing.” Later Musavi, Karrubi and Khatami, along with his wife were arrested or placed under house arrest. All leaders of the opposition Islamic Participation Front and the Revolution’s Mujahidin Party have been rounded up.
Update 1:20 p.m. CDT 6-24-09: The wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard said today that it is her “duty” to continue “legal” protests and condemn the presence of armed guards in the streets.”
I regret the arrest of many politicians and people and want their immediate release,” Rahnavard said in the Web site statement, according to Reuters.