A new photo of an Iranian opposition leader and his activist wife who have been held under house arrest for eight years is spreading on social media.
The Twitter account of the reformist Etemad daily published the image early on Sunday of Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, without a story. The photo was not published in the paper’s Sunday edition.
“A new image of Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard,” Etemad posted on Twitter.
— 🌐 اعتمادآنلاين (@EtemadOnline) March 2, 2019
Authorities have banned media from publishing their images after they were put under house arrest in 2011.
Mousavi, together with reformist Karroubi, emerged as opposition leader during Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election.
Following the announcement of the election result, according to which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won his second term, millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest against the allegedly rigged election.
The mass demonstration, the widest since the 1979 revolution, was denominated by the slogan “Where is my vote?”, giving birth to what then become known as the Green Movement.
Green was the colour of Mousavi’s electoral campaign and the opposition leader became universally recognised as the symbolic leader of themovement.
He made a series of public statements that culminated in the Manshur-e Jonbesh-e Sabz [Charter of the Green Movement] with the intention to form a new political front.
Despite his peaceful methods, Mousavi and his wife, as well as Mehdi Karroubi, were put under house arrest for challenging Iranian authorities over the disputed vote and human rights abuses.
The US State Department called for the release of Mousavi and Karroubi last month on the anniversary of their house arrest.
“We condemn the continued arbitrary detention of the 2009 election candidates and others being held without fair trial,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a February 14 statement posted on Twitter.
This week marks the eight-year anniversary of the detention of 2009 Iranian presidential election candidates Karroubi and Mousavi. We condemn the continued arbitrary detention of the 2009 election candidates and others being held without fair trial. https://t.co/tKa4Yg60ES pic.twitter.com/9SLrAiDdqr
— Cale Brown (@StateDeputySPOX) February 14, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, already under fire by conservatives for his unravelling nuclear deal, faces criticism from reformists over failing to free the two as he had pledged during his election campaigns in 2013 and 2017.