Zahra Rahnavard

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Zahra Rahnavard
Zahra Rahnavard.jpg
Born Zohreh Kazemi
(1945-08-19) 19 August 1945 (age 72)
Borujerd, Iran
Residence Tehran, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Alma mater University of Tehran
Islamic Azad University
Occupation Academic
Title Former Chancellor of Alzahra University
Political party
Movement Islamic feminism[1]
Spouse(s) Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Children Kokab, Narges and Zahra

Zahra Rahnavard (Persian: زهرا رهنورد‎‎; born Zohreh Kazemi; 19 August 1945) is an Iranian academic, artist and politician.[2]

Early life[edit]

Rahnavard was born in Boroojerd, Iran. Her father Haj-Fathali was a Sh'ia and anti-Communist. After hearing of a gathering of Sh'ia clerics in Iran, Haj-Fathali emigrated to Khomein, Markazi Province where Zahra was raised.[citation needed] Zahra Rahnavard earned her bachelor and master's degrees in art and architecture from University of Tehran. She also has master's and PhD degrees from Islamic Azad University in Political science.[3] Rahnavard was among the early revolutionaries against the Shah. In the last years of the Shah, she was close to Ali Shariati, a dissident Islamist leader.[4]

Political life[edit]

Zahra Rahnavard in 2009

Rahnavard served as the Chancellor of Alzahra University in Tehran from 1998 to 2006, and as a Political Adviser to the former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.[5][6] Rahnavard was the first Iranian woman appointed as a chancellor of a university since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. She was nominated to this post by former Minister of Science, Research and Technology, Mostafa Moin.[7] After the election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005 and the purging of reformist officials from the government, Rahnavard was removed or resigned from her position as the Chancellor of Al-zahra University in 2006, replaced by Mahboubeh Mobasheri.

She was an active member of her husband Mir-Hossein Mousavi's campaign when Mousavi entered the 2009 presidential election. Now she is a member of The Green Path of Hope and is one of the Leaders of Opposition. Rahnavard is also the author of 15 books.

Personal life[edit]

Rahnavard is the wife of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the former Prime Minister of Iran and had three daughters: Kokab, Narges and Zahra. She and Mousavi married on 18 September 1969. They are now on a house confinement.


  1. ^ Ziba Mir-Hosseini, “FEMINIST MOVEMENTS iv. IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, IX/5, pp. 498-503, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).
  2. ^ "Zahra Rahnavard - O Magazine 2010 Power List". Oprah. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "بیوگرافی زهرا رهنورد". Yazd Farda. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Alavi, Nasrin (2 June 2009). "Iran: a blind leap of faith". Open Democracy. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Torfeh, Massoumeh (5 May 2009). "Iran's first first lady?". The Guardian. London. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived 26 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Zahra Rahnavard named university chancellor in Tehran". 23 September 1998. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chancellor of Alzahra University
Succeeded by
Mahboubeh Mobasheri