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IRAN: Slain protester's mother speaks out to Mousavi and wife

July 15, 2009 |  8:31 am

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Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, made their first public appearance in weeks on Tuesday night at the home of slain protester Sohrab Aarabi, whose activist mother, Parvin Fahimi, appears to be gearing up for a full-fledged publicity war against the regime.

Since her son's fate came to light earlier this week, Fahimi has placed herself and her family at the forefront of a wave of popular outrage directed at the highest levels of government. The video below shows her sitting in what appears to be the family room with Mousavi and his wife, surrounded by pictures of her son draped in a green scarf, a symbol of the opposition.

Fahimi, an active member of Mothers for Peace, reportedly told the reformist news website Norooznews.org that she would seek justice in domestic and, if need be, international courts. The website went on to report Mousavi's promise to the family that he wouldn't "let the blood of these youth go in vain."

The 19-year-old Aarabi disappeared during a protest on June 15, but the official coroner's report is dated June 19 and his body was not returned by authorities until nearly a month later. Video footage of a desperate Fahimi pleading for information on her son outside Evin prison has provoked outcry over the suspicious circumstances surrounding the teenager's death.

The government maintains that only 20 people died in the postelection protests, but human rights groups, independent media and relatives of the disappeared put the number as high as 150 and claim the government is delaying the release of bodies in an attempt to disguise the real number.

The official website of 2009 presidential contender Mehdi Karroubi's National Trust Party reported Wednesday that the families of at least 46 missing people have come forward for help, while Aarabi's mother says she was asked to identify her son from an album of five dozen or so individuals' pictures.

Last month, footage of 26-year-old Neda Agha Sultan bleeding to death on a Tehran street sparked worldwide protests and became a galvanizing force for the opposition. If more families follow Fahimi's example by refusing to stay quiet on the fate of their loved ones, the regime could see its crackdown backfire by creating a new generation of martyr-heroes.

Mousavi's visit to the family comes on the heels of his announcement that he will form a new political "front," which, in Iran, is similar to a party but lacks the legal authority to call for political rallies. 

Similar fronts have been formed in the past but failed to gain much influence. Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, director of the political office of the Ministry of Interior, said today that such fronts or alliances must also get permission to operate, according to the Iranian Students News Agency.

— Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his popular wife, Zahra Rahnavard, express condolences to Parvin Fahimi, mother of the 19-year-old slain protester Sohrab Aarabi. Credit: news.gooya.com.

Video: Fahimi tells her story to opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi.  Credit: YouTube

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