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Family Concerned Over Health Of Iranian Opposition Leader, Wife

Mir Hossein Musavi (left) and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, have been under house arrest since February.

Mir Hossein Musavi (left) and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, have been under house arrest since February.

The mother of opposition figure Zahra Rahnavard, who along with her husband, opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi, has reportedly been under house arrest for the past five months, has expressed concern over their health.

Rahnavard's mother, Ehteram Sadat Navab-Safavi, who was allowed to meet with Rahnavard and Musavi two weeks ago, has talked about her meeting and her observations in an interview with the opposition website Kalame.

She said she didn't consider Musavi and Rahnavard's current situation as house arrest, but rather she described it as a kidnapping by the Iranian authorities.

It's not clear whether she was able to meet her daughter and son in law at their house which according to Kalame has turned into "a prison with tall iron walls" or at another location.

"I have no information about the way they live at the place where they're being held and it's unlikely anyone knows," she said.

She said that both Musavi and Rahnavard's morale are strong and they're in good spirits, but their health seem to be deteriorating.

"In the last meeting, I took notice of the sickliness of my daughter and son-in-law and also how suddenly they've [lost a lot of weight]," Navab-Safavi said, while adding that she was very worried about the sudden change in Musavi and Rahnavard's appearance.

She also said that the family had demanded that Rahnavard and Musavi get medical check-ups, to which security authorities reacted by saying, "We have our own doctors, we will [take care of it]."

But Rahnavard's mother said that until doctors from the family are allowed to check on Musavi and Rahnavard, the concern over their health remains.

The Iranian authorities put opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi and their wives under house arrest following their call for a opposition demonstration in February that attracted tens of thousands of protesters.

Since then only family members have reportedly been allowed to meet them on rare occasions, in the presence of security forces.

Rahnavard's mother has said that for the first three months, their children hadn't been allowed to see them.

"But in the past 40 days there have been some limited meetings in the presence of male and female [security] agents and several cameras that have been installed," she said.

Navab-Safavi said security officials tightly monitor the meetings between family members and Musavi and Rahnavard, and prevent them from giving them any news.

She said one of the main demands of the security officers was for the family to remain silent about Musavi and Rahnavard's situation.

"It raises our doubts about their life and health. Maybe with our silence [the authorities] have other plans," she said.

She added that Rahnavard and Musavi have done nothing but serve the people and families of political prisoners and that the authorities have to set them free.

Some observers believe that by keeping the opposition leaders under house arrest, the Iranian authorities have successfully managed to fully isolate them and prevent them from playing any political role.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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