Frail-Looking Mousavi Triggers Controversy in Iran
A rare photo and a video of Iranian opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard looking frail, following eight years of house arrest, has triggered a debate on social media.
Authorities put Mousavi and his wife under house arrest in February 2011 and have since banned the media from publishing their photos.
Mousavi and reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi emerged as opposition leaders during Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. They have repeatedly challenged Iranian authorities over the vote and human rights abuses.
Iran's Al-Kalima news website, affiliated with Mousavi, published last Saturday a photo and video footage celebrating the 77th anniversary of the Iranian opposition leader, bringing his case back to the spotlight.
In the video, Mousavi looked frail while sitting on a chair and praying.
Reports said the video was shot at the house of Mousavi’s sister.
Many Iranians, including journalists and activists, shared the opposition leader’s photo and video, expressing discontent at failed promises made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to end the house arrests of both Mousavi and Karroubi.
Rouhani ran for election in 2013 and 2017 promising to free the two leaders of the 2009 Green Movement.
“The so-called reformist winners, wanted to garner the votes of Iranians under the slogan of ending the house arrests (of Mousavi and Karroubi)… They want to preserve the detention to cover up their failures, and keep the regime alive,” said one tweet.
Another tweet added: “I had no accurate information on Mousavi and had never heard of his name before the 2009 elections, but today, I know he is a man who defended his ideology and principles and never thought about personal interests. Principles against bullets.”
For his part, Iranian journalist Reza Haghighatnejad wrote an analysis saying, “Frustration defeated hope, and discord turned into hatred.”