June 12, 2009

TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE?:

The woman Ahmadinejad should fear: Zahra Rahnavard could turn the tide in Friday's elections in Iran. (Ulrike Putz, Jun. 11, 2009, Der Spiegel)

Even before Zahra Rahnavard had arrived, it was clear that this woman was an important figure in the Iranian election campaign. The team working for the election of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had only expected a few journalists to turn up to his wife's press conference. In the end 150 gathered to hear her speak.

Since the revolution in 1979 no other political spouse has been so much in the public eye. Rahnavard is even featured in her husband's election posters: she stands next to him, holding his hand. In Iran's strict Muslim society this alone is nothing short of spectacular. She wears her black chador loosely and instead of a plain scarf, hers is printed with a colorful floral pattern. Thousands of copies of the poster can be seen across Tehran in the run up to Friday's presidential election.

Mousavi's strategy of bringing his wife into the campaign could ultimately tip the vote in his favor. People see the image of Rahnaward standing next to her husband as an equal as a kind of election promise. Many, and not just Iran's women, hope that if this reformist candidate wins, it could mark a new era of personal freedoms.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2009 5:41 AM
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