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Zahra Rahnavard: We Welcome Criticism of Green Movement

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

Zahra Rahnavard in Exclusive Interview with Rooz (file photo)

As a heated debate rages over whether it is appropriate to criticize the green movement and Mir Hossein Mousavi, in an exclusive interview with Rooz, Zahra Rahnavard says, "those who are not criticized become stagnant like a marsh, and we welcome all criticism that is made out of friendship and concern for the movement."

We interviewed Zahra Rahnavard following the controversial remarks and interpretations of the green movement by some figures and political groups outside Iran, despite repeated statements from Mousavi and Karoubi, the two opposition presidential candidates, that the green movement is "pluralistic" in nature and accepts all those who oppose the status quo in Iran. Noting that "plularism and diversity are among the Green Movement's characteristics," Rahnavard says, "everyone who believes in change towards the attainment of freedom, democracy, free elections and the government's non-interference in people's personal lives is a green."

Here are the excerpt of this exclusive interview Rooz conducted with Dr. Rahnavard, a university professor and artist, below.

Rooz: Does Mr. Mousavi have a representative or spokesperson outside Iran?

Zahra Rahnavard (Rahnavard): Mousavi has repeatedly said that he does not have a representative or spokesperson outside Iran.

Rooz: Mrs. Rahnavard, in your view, who are the individuals that make up the Green Movement, and what spectrum of society does the movement cover?

Rahnavard: The Green Movement is pluralistic and everyone who believes in change to attain freedom, democracy, free elections and in the government's non-interference in people's personal lives is a green. This does not mean that all greens follow the same ideology or that we all have the same viewpoint. I believe that the Green Movement is about what unites us. Our differences, although they exist, provide an opportunity for all of us to come together regardless of our varying viewpoints. For example, within our movement, one person may be very religious and another may not, while others may fall somewhere in between. Although our differences remain, we have come together based on our common beliefs and the things that unite us. In other words, regardless of our differences, the Green Movement has united us based on our common goals and agreements.

Rooz: Lately there has been much debate regarding whether there is room for criticism within the Green Movement, particularly criticism of Mr. Mousavi himself. Some believe that criticism under the current circumstances could undermine the movement while others insist that those who oppose the movement take advantage of this. What do you think?

Rahnavard: Generally speaking, criticism is a good thing and we encourage constructive criticism. I personally believe that those who are not criticized become stagnant like a marsh, and we welcome all criticism that is made out of friendship and concern for the movement. Criticism expressed out of animosity will be revealed over time. At the same time, I'd like to add that criticism should not be directed only at Mr. Mousavi; it should also include the group consisting of Mr. Khatami, Karroubi and others, including myself, none of whom have ever claimed leadership over the movement and always encouraged criticism. The fact that criticism of the movement makes the current totalitarian regime happy and that they view this criticism as somehow weakening the Green Movement is of no importance. I believe that criticism will only lead to the further development and growth of our movement. As an artist, I always ask my friends to provide criticism of my work and believe that it is this form of criticism that leads to improvement.

... Payvand News - 07/14/10 ... --

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