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Opposition Figure Says Regime Won’t Even ‘Acknowledge’ Her

Zahra Rahnavard, wife of Iran's presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi. UNDATED
Zahra Rahnavard, wife of Iran's presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi. UNDATED

A prominent political figure protesting the results of Iran’s 2009 presidential election, Zahra Rahnavard, has bitterly criticized being ignored by the secretary of the Supreme Security Council of Iran (SSCI).

SSCI head Ali Shamkhani recently said that the term “under house arrest” didn’t apply to the “gentlemen” who protested Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009.

After being under house arrest for nearly seven years, Rahnavard told her daughters, “They don’t even bother to admit they have chained up a woman for seven years.”

While meeting with her two daughters on November 7, Rahnavard was responding to Shamkhani’s recent comments, a website close to the Iran Green Movement, Kalemeh, reported.

Ten days earlier, Shamkhani had cautioned, “It is not correct to use the term ‘under house arrest’ for Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.”

Though Shamkhani was trying to dismiss the fact that Mousavi and Karroubi are under house arrest but he did not acknowledge that Rahnavard, Mousavi’s wife, has also been confined with her husband since February 2011.

Rahnavard’s daughters cited her as saying, “We did not expect Shamkhani to make such a comment. The ‘gentlemen’ have chained up a woman for seven years and, depriving her of university, art, and social activities, kept her under ruthless house arrest but do not bother to even acknowledge it.”

Rahnavard, who meets weekly with her daughters, insisted she has no demands.

However, on November 8, Kalemeh cited Karroubi’s son, Mohammad Hossein, as saying he had witnessed a “breakthrough” in his father’s case but not in that of the Mousavis.

Karroubi, the former speaker of the Iranian Parliament, has recently been allowed to receive more visitors. His fragile health has raised serious concerns, and several analysts argue that is the main reason behind relaxing restrictions against him.

The legality of keeping the trio under house arrest has in recent years been a bone of contention between President Hassan Rouhani’s administration and the judiciary.

Karroubi and Mousavi were Ahmadinejad’s main challengers in the 2009 presidential election. Ahmadinejad was officially declared the winner, but the challengers protested the outcome, calling it an engineered result.

Their protest led to more than five months of demonstrations and was met with a harsh crackdown that left several killed and hundreds imprisoned.

Later, in February 2011, the Mousavis and Karroubi were confined to their houses after they called for street demonstrations in solidarity with the Arab Spring pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia.