Who Is Mir-Hossein Mousavi? A History of Iran's Opposition Leader
Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Iran's main opposition leader appeared at a rally in Tehran's Freedom Square today, for the first time since last week's elections. Mousavi was supposed to address his supporters and ask them to refrain from violence. All rallies have officially been banned by the government of Iran, and there are reports that Monday's rally has lead to gunfire and violence. It was reported that Iran will investigate Mousavi's claims of election rigging.
But who is Mousavi? And, why does he get the unequivocal support of so many (nearly 34%) of people in Iran? Do people join his camp out of despise for Ahmadinejad, or do they sincerely sympathize with his views? Are they aware of the policies Mousavi pursued during his stint as the Prime Minister of Iran in the 1980s?
What is Mousavi's background?
Mousavi holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from Shahid Beheshti University, specializing in traditional Isalmic architecture. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic Party newspaper. Before becoming Iran's PM, Mousavi served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He did not run for President in 1997 election because allegedly he was discouraged from doing so by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He declined to run in 2005 elections as well.
What is Mousavi's political track record?
-- good handling of Iran-Iraq conflict (1980-1988)
-- efforts to end Iran's international isolation
-- pioneering of bond-based economy, avoiding devastating effects of recession
Other sources claim that Mousavi was as hard-line as Ahmadinejad when he was in power. Most of Mousavi's supporters rallying for him today were just born when he came in power, and have no memories of Mousavi's policies.
Despite his more 'moderate' views, it is alleged Mousavi still does not believe in the existence of the state of Israel, albeit he accepts Holocaust. He is also accused of being part of the regime that executed dissidents. President Ahmadinejad has specifically raised the issue during televised debates that when the government that Mousavi was part of was in power, the inflation rate jumped to almost 50% and the nation had 49 billion dollars in foreign debt.
In 1988, Mousavi called Israel "a cancerous tumor." In 1987, he attacked America as "the great satan." He's also called for author Salman Rushdie to be killed, branding him "a tool of zionists against Islam."
According to the Washington Post, Mousavi "pledged subservience" to Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, in 1989. He reportedly helped found the terrorist group Hezbollah and had close ties to Iran's intelligence services.
According to a 2007 IAEA report, Mousavi also played a lead role in establishing Iran's controversial nuclear program. He continues to support that nuke program today, and has yet to retract any of his past statements about America or Israel
Here are Mousavi's 2009 campaign platform promises:
-- Institutionalization of social justice
-- Equality and Fairness
-- Freedom of expression
-- Anti-corruption efforts
-- Increased privatization (specifically increased privatization of TV networks)
-- Diversion from Ahmadinejad's "alms-based economy"
-- Improved ties with the West (including a more moderate nuclear development policy)
-- Increased law enforcement
-- Increased transparency of government's actions
-- Stopped operation of "Moral Police"
-- Less discrimination against women with more rights to financial freedom and the freedom of dress as well as more participation in high level decision making
-- Acceptance of Holocaust
With a political record that is contradicting some of Mousavi's current platform promises, it is amazing so many people rally for him without caring to find out about his past as a politician. On the other hand, Iranians might be putting more emphasis on what Mousavi aims to do should he be elected, rather than what he already did when he was a politician but did not have all the power to get things done his way.
Google has a fascinating visualization of Mousavi in Iran Elections History