Iran’s opposition Green movement, fighting for democracy since last year’s disputed election, has not been crushed despite having to call off protests in the face of government repression, says a defiant Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Rahnavard, a high-profile academic, sculptor and campaigner for women’s rights, says she is prepared to “face the gallows” in the struggle for freedom – but insists the movement her husband leads is reformist, not revolutionary, and wants to see respect for the Iranian constitution.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, her first for a British newspaper since mass unrest erupted last June, Rahnnavard lambasts the Islamic regime for its “Tiananmen-style” attack on demonstrators protesting that their votes had been stolen by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“This movement started with the simple question: ‘Where is my vote?'” she said. “But because the response was violence and bullets and repression from the ruling regime, the situation entered another phase which was completely unpredictable. People’s demands have changed so now there are more fundamental questions and more intensive criticism of the regime. The Islamic republic has deviated from its path and goals.