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Iran's Next First Lady?

Zahra Rahnavard (left)
Zahra Rahnavard (left)
There is growing interest on Iranian websites and in the blogosphere about Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Musavi, who is likely to be Mahmud Ahmadinejad 's main challenger in Iran's June presidential election.

Rahnavard, a writer, sculptor, and painter, recently published an article about Iran's presidential election in which she criticized discrimination against women.

She wrote that "the complicated experience from past elections show that during the election excitement and fever and [attempts ] to gain women's votes, women are considered first-class citizens and half of the population. But as soon as the election is over women are downgraded to second- and third-class citizens and they're being forgotten."

She added that Iran should review its laws in order to end the discrimination against women and that the Islamic Republic should join international conventions that safeguard women's rights, especially within the workplace.

Her husband, Musavi, has so far been silent about women's rights. Although, in comments that appeared to be addressed to young women and men, he said on April 6 during a press conference that he would stop the police patrolling the streets and arresting citizens for failing to observe the Islamic dress code.

Rahnavard holds a Ph.D. in political science and has held several top posts including political adviser to Iran's former President Mohammad Khatami and dean of Iran’s Al Zahra University.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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