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A Suprising Challenge to Iran’s Leader

June 9, 2009

With the Iranian elections looming, the middle east’s most enigmatic country deals with the internal conflict between its educated, western-looking young, urban voters and the more fundamentalist voters who support the current President and the religious authorities to whom he owes the bulk of his support. The wife of one of the President’s opponents will not quietly defer to Ahmadinejad’s derisive rhetoric.

A diminutive 64-year-old grandmother who refuses to be bound by the rigid constraints imposed on women in Iran proved more than a match for the President of the Islamic Republic yesterday. Zahra Rahnavard had already broken all precedent by actively campaigning for her husband, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a relative moderate who is President Ahmadinejad’s strongest challenger in Friday’s presidential election. Yesterday she went a step further by summoning the domestic and international media to a press conference at which she tore into the President for lying, humiliating women, debasing his office and betraying the principles of the revolution.

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