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Zahra Rahnavard: We don't compromise or recognize Ahmadinejad's government


Source: Mir Hossein Mousavi's facebook

Full transcript of the interview with Zahra Rahnavard, university professor, author and Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife is as follows:

Zahra Rahnavard

Rooz online: Mrs. Rahnavard, after Mr. Mousavi's 17th statement was published, some suggested that Mr. Mousavi recognized the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. Is this an accurate interpretation?

Zahra Rahnavard: My personal understanding of this statement is that it stresses the fraudulent and unhealthy nature of the election. When the statement stresses such a matter how can anyone have such an interpretation? I believe that from the tone of this statement we can clearly see that Mr. Mousavi does not recognize a government that was established based on fraud.

Rooz online: Recently there have been a lot of rumors about a behind the scene compromise by Mr. Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami and today some outlets reported that Mr. Karroubi has recognized the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's government. Some have interpreted Mr. Mousavi's previous statement and Mr. Karroubi's remarks today as behind the scene compromises.

Zahra Rahnavard: This is absolutely not true, no compromise whatsoever is in the works. I don't see any compromise in that statement, rather I believe it lays out the minimum desires and aspirations of the people of Iran that the current regime could easily fulfill.

Rooz online: The current government has however, not accepted these demands to date. Do you believe they will eventually acknowledge and accept these demands?

Zahra Rahnavard: I cannot foresee what will happen in the future. I can only hope that whatever happens is in the best interest of the people of Iran and that it honors our nation. I want to emphasize the fact that we neither acknowledge the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's government, nor are we making any behind the scenes compromises.

Zahra Rahnavard and Mir Hossein Mousavi in a
rare scene holding hands - June 2009

Rooz online: The new wave of arrests that took place after Ashura have lead to a more closed atmosphere and included many who have provided much service to the revolution. Do you believe that these arrests are going to have an effect on the people's movement?

Zahra Rahnavard: These arrests are not only wrong and unacceptable, but they unfortunately continue. Arresting those who speak on behalf of freedom and people's rights has no legal basis. Let's not forget that aspiring towards freedom and desiring the rule of law and religious democracy are the foundation of the people's demands and their "vote" is therefore also integral to this issue. Arresting people, whether they be normal citizens, political activists or journalists, has no legal basis. What good did it do these gentlemen to arrest a figure such as Dr. Beheshti who is a symbol of human rights, one of the intellectuals of this movement and an avid supporter of the universities? I don't just mean Dr. Beheshti, rather I use him as a symbol for all our loved ones who have been arrested because of their humane and compassionate aspirations. Here I want to particularly emphasize the issue concerning women. Arresting Iranian intellectual lionesses will only lead to a great blow to the reputation and respectability of the Islamic Republic. Women who should be active in our society and working in our universities are currently spending their days in prison cells. This is a huge disgrace for the Islamic Republic both vis-à-vis our nation and in the eyes of the world.

Rooz online: Do you think these arrests will have any effect on the people's movement/Green movement?

Zahra Rahnavard: These arrests have no effect what so ever on the desires, demands and movement of the people. Our people are fully aware and have a very high political acumen. Today it is our people who are vanguards of our intellectuals, in many ways our intellectuals are following the people of our nation.

Iran's opposition movement is gearing up for fresh protests on February 11, the anniversary of
the Islamic Revolution

Rooz online: Mrs. Rahnavard, many of those close to you and your husband have been arrested. Your brother was arrested once again and Mr. Mousavi's nephew was also martyred. How have these issues affected your personal and family life?

Zahra Rahnavard: We live and breathe with the Green movement. I myself have always been suppressed by these ultra conservative circumstances, but have nevertheless expressed my opinions. Unfortunately their focus has been on myself and other freedom fighting women. The recent insults and marginalization are nothing new and have been going on for years. They are designed to suppress us, but have been taken too far. There was a time when they would not allow me to publish my books and they went as far as making me limit my activities and work to teaching at the university, but the pressures continued. Now it has been intensified. Their goal is for me not to exist, not to breathe, not to be. They even try to flare up and marginalize our love life. But everyone knows what type of life we lead and these pressures and threats have no effect on our life, our activities and our aspirations.

Rooz online: I would like to better understand the effects of such sacrifices and the price that your family and those close to you have had to pay. Have they not effected their relationship with Mr. Mousavi?

Zahra Rahnavard: These prices have not been paid for Mr. Mousavi, but for the Green movement. We are not focused on the individual and individualism and our family is no different than the rest of the people making sacrifices and paying a price. My brother is a scientist and specialist and has never been politically active, but like many other people he has also had to pay a price. We have made a shield of our chests and are ready for any kind of attack and terror.

Zahra Rahnavard and Mir Hossein Mousavi

Rooz online: Mrs. Rahnavard you yourself have been attacked three times so far. It has been reported that those who attacked you are members of the "Basiji Sisters". Can you elaborate on this issue?

Zahra Rahnavard: I can't say with all certainty if they were Basijis or not; but I know that they were under orders, and from the day before the 16th of Azar and up to the 18th of Azar I experienced very unsafe circumstances. They pursued me on a regular basis and once they even attacked and insulted me. On one occasion the university security forces removed me from the premises by car and a motorcyclist pushed his hand into the car, spraying pepper spray, which made me very sick and lead to my hemorrhaging from the kidneys. Those four days until the 18th of Azar, they either insulted me or attacked me physically and I had no sense of security. They stopped after the 18th of Azar and so far it has been quiet.

Rooz online: Are you not afraid that something might happen to you? Have you thought about such an event?

Zahra Rahnavard: Fighting for freedom and peace has always been an integral part of my life. That is why I am not afraid to die. As I said before, we have made a shield of our chests and I am personally ready for any attack or terror.


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