Defying Ban, Reformist Iranian Newspaper Publishes Photo of Opposition Leader

New photo of Mir Hossein Mousavi and wife Zahra Rahnavard was tweeted by Etemad daily and spread on social media

File photo: A demonstrator shows a picture of former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi during a rally in western Tehran, June 15, 2009.
Caren Firouz/Reuters

A new photo of an Iranian opposition leader and his activist wife who have been held under house arrest for eight years is spreading on social media in the country.

The Twitter account of the reformist Etemad daily published the image early on Sunday of Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, without a story. The photo was not published in the paper's Sunday edition.

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Authorities have banned media from publishing their images after they were put under house arrest in 2011. Mousavi emerged as opposition leader during Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani, already under fire by hard-liners for his unraveling nuclear deal, faces criticism from reformists over failing to free the two as he had pledged during his election campaigns in 2013 and 2017.