Rassool Zarehee, 22, shouted at the top of his lungs as he and several other students raced around a basketball court at the University of Tabriz recently, encouraging more than 2,000 students to chant with them. “Yasharsoon Moussavi!” he screamed in the local Turkish Azeri dialect. “Long Live Moussavi!”
Mr. Zarehee is a staunch supporter of Mir Hussein Moussavi, a moderate politician who is the strongest challenger to Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ahead of the June 12 election. Mr. Zarehee’s enthusiasm for his candidate is so strong that he waited several hours behind closed gates with other students before the angry crowd finally pushed its way inside.
Wearing a green headband, a green cloak and green ribbons on his wrists — the trademark color for Mr. Moussavi’s supporters — Mr. Zarehee warmed up the crowd before Mr. Moussavi spoke. He remained on the court for more than two hours, along with some 400 other students, chanting and singing in support of Mr. Moussavi.
“This is all my hope, and I will do my share so that he gets elected,” he said after the event. “We have been like prisoners at university for the past four years.”
Mr. Moussavi, a former prime minister, was born in Khameneh, a small town near this northwestern city in East Azerbaijan Province. He was speaking here on Tuesday as part of a two-day tour to win the votes of Turkish speakers, nearly one-third of Iran’s eligible voters.