This Woman May Take Down Ahmadinejad
Wife of reformist candidate strikes a blow in Iran
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2009 5:45 AM CDT
The leading reformist Iranian presidential hopeful, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, wave to the supporters, in an election campaign in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Tomorrow Iran goes to the polls in a critical presidential election that could see Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tossed out of office. As Der Spiegel reports, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister with a reputation for clean governance, is riding a wave of support—thanks in part to his wife, a former university chancellor who has become the most visible politician's spouse since the 1979 revolution. Zahra Rahnavard even appears on her husband's election posters, holding his hand: a spectacular gesture in Iran.

Recently Rahnavard gave a press conference wearing makeup and a colorful headscarf, a violation of Iran's laws, and was asked whether she was Iran's version of Michelle Obama. She said no—but added, in English, that "I respect all women who are active." If Mousavi wins tomorrow, his wife will have pushed him over the top. As one salon owner said, she'd vote for Mousavi, "the one with the woman," because "perhaps he'll bring a bit of freedom."