In a recent telephone conversation with his family, Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has reaffirmed his unwavering positions in the face of the regime’s unrelenting pressures and scare tactics.
Mousavi, 69, led the Green Movement alongside fellow opposition figure Mahdi Karroubi until mid-February 2011 when they were both placed under house arrest after calling for protests in solidarity with the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia. The demonstrations were marred by a violent crackdown by the security forces, which left at least two dead.
On Wednesday, Kaleme, a website affiliated with Mousavi, reported that after months of complete isolation from the outside world, Mousavi and wife Zahra Rahnavard were recently allowed to call their daughters. According to Kaleme, the phone call was made shortly before the anniversary of their illegal captivity.
The site adds that one striking aspect of this phone call was that despite the months-long absence of any contacts between the opposition couple and the outside world, Mousavi repeatedly stressed that “Nothing has changed.” He reportedly uttered these words even before greeting his children whose voice he had not heard for months.
“My daughters, know that I am not backing down from my previous stand,” Mousavi reportedly assured his children, while adding that it was “possible, due to certain reasons,” that the authorities would move to curb his very limited family contacts even further.
Meanwhile, contrary to rumours spread by a number of pro-regime media outlets, Zahra Rahnavard is said to be enjoying a “high morale.” “For reasons you will come to understand, we have not been able to talk to each other,” she told her daughters.
In a recently surfaced audio clip believed to have been recorded a night before Mousavi and Rahnavard’s house arrest, Rahnavard is heard saying, “We are under a great deal of pressure and are besieged.” When asked by journalist Masih Alinejad about the conditions in their home, she replies, “There’s nothing good to speak of.”
Mousavi’s daughters and son-in-laws have also been subject to threats and harassments from the Iranian regime in the past year. Security forces recently threatened the daughters with imprisonment and, one of them, who had been studying art at Azzahra University, has already been barred from attending school without receiving any form of written explanation. Azzahra is Iran’s sole women’s only university. Zahra Rahnavard was a professor and chancellor there for a number of years.
In 2011, during a brief visit with his daughter during the holy month of Ramadan, Mousavi reportedly told his daughters, “If you want to know about my situation in captivity, read Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping.” “Under the status quo, one can’t be hopeful about the upcoming [parliamentary] elections and participation in them,” he told his daughters.
“The future is bright,” he added.
When news of the meeting leaked onto Green websites, authorities further isolated the couple, while queues formed in front of bookshops after the book became a rare commodity in a matter of days.
More than a year since the start of the arbitrary detention, the opposition leaders have not yet been granted a fair trial. Human rights groups maintain that their continued captivity and maltreatment is inconsistent not only with human rights provisions but also with Iran’s own constitution.