President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's main political challenger, Mirhossein Mousavi, has had a long career in Iranian politics. His defeat at the polls on June 12 sparked widespread protest and allegations of vote rigging.
As Iran's last prime minister before the post was abolished, Mirhossein Mousavi had a long career in Iranian politics even before he decided to challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential election.
Mousavi served as a presidential adviser to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-1997) and then to Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005). He has also been active on the Expediency Discernment Council, an arbitration body that mediates conflicts between parliament and the Guardian Council, which can thwart the passage of legislation. An architect and painter by trade, Mousavi is a co-founder and the president of the Iranian Academy of the Arts in Tehran.
After Mousavi announced in March that he intended to challenge Ahmadinejad in the June vote, former reformist president Khatami withdrew from the race and threw his support behind Mousavi. Sources close to Khatami said he dropped his candidacy to avoid the risk of splitting the reformist vote.
He has also voiced his support for women’s rights and said he would consider disbanding Iran’s so-called morality police, who enforce Islamic dress standards for women and can arrest those they deem to be dressed inappropriately. Mousavi’s wife, academic and artist Zahra Rahavnard, has been promoting women’s rights during her husband’s campaign.
Date created : 2009-06-18