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Mir Hossein Mousavi

Mousavi, Mir Hossein (mēr hōsānˈ mōsävēˈ) [key], 1941–, Iranian political leader and architect. Active in Islamic groups and in the opposition to the Shah's rule, he was (1979) a founder of the Islamic Republican party and served as foreign minister (1981) and prime minister (1981–89) after the Islamic Republic of Iran was established. Close to the Ayatollah Khomeini and regarded as a hard-liner, he was often at odds over economic issues with Ali Khamenei, who was then president and later succeeded Khomeini as Iran's supreme leader. Mousavi won regard for his leadership during Iran-Iraq War but largely retired from politics when the post of prime minister was eliminated in 1989. He lent support to moderate Mohammad Khatami in his successful 1997 run for the presidency. In 2009 he ran for the presidency as a reformist against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had the support of Khamenei and was declared the winner under circumstances that appeared to indicate vote rigging. Mousavi denounced the results as fraudulent, and subsequently called the government illegitimate. Later in the year he was dismissed as president of the Iranian Academy of the Arts, a position he had held since 1998. His continued opposition to the government led in Feb., 2011, to his being placed under house arrest.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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