Iran: Mir-Hossein Mousavi Cartoon Upsets Greens

A leading Iranian cartoonist and blogger based in Canada, Nikahang Kowsar, posted a cartoon this month of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi that has caused numerous reactions in Iranian citizen media.

It shows Mousavi sitting at a desk 10 years from now, writing his 300th statement.

The cartoon is not directly insulting of Mousavi, but it shows an unfavorable outcome for his supporters. Perhaps responding to indignation over the cartoon, Roozonline, an opposition website, removed it from their own site without explanation. Meanwhile, several conservative (pro-government) websites within Iran have re-published the cartoon and “celebrated” what they see as a mood swing among “counter-revolutionaries” (the opposition).

Sabz1388 writes [fa]:

Mousavi is not a saint, he is a human-being from Earth who makes mistakes. Nikahang asks us about Mousavi's reaction to executions in the 1980s… I do not know, I was very young at the time, but Mousavi did criticize recent executions… Arguments for and against Nikahang just make us stray from news and activities of the Green Movement.

Jacoobjacoobi refers [fa] to Mousavi's 300th statement in the cartoon and says that even the most severe Mousavi critics cannot deny that he is resiting and demanding the rights of the Iranian people.

Sogholme argues [fa] that Nikahang is making fun of Mousavi's non-violent form of struggle. Nikahang, himself, disagrees and writes [fa] that he too supports non-violence:

“Some friends asked me if I want to destroy Mousavi. My answer is not at all. I have no personal problem with him… I am a cartoonist and I should make fun of all sides of power. Questioning them.”

Nikahang drew another cartoon displaying Mousavi as a “green” saint, comparing him with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who once claimed a light surrounds him in a speech at the United Nations.


  • Behrou G.

    Thank you for the post Hamid jaan. These caricatures are absolutely brilliant and dead-on. Aside from the first one summing up the path that Mousavi’s on, I particularly enjoyed the 2nd one showing him as a saint in a world where Khomeini is God and where ordinary Iranians are simply not in the picture – absolutely brilliant.

  • Nikahnag asks me to add his comment here: On the matter of removing my cartoon from Roozonline, I had to check myself and this was the result:

    As a full time cartoonists and editorial member of Roozonline, I send my cartoons 5 days a week to the editorial board and the decision is made by the board, to publish or not to publish the artwork.

    On that specific date that I had sent the cartoon, it was published without the consent of all the editorial board members and therefore on the next day, when many fans of the Green Movement and a number of the readers of Roozonline showed their disapproval to the idea of that cartoon, the board decided to remove it.

    I prefer not to judge the action leading to the removal of the cartoon, but based on the rules we have in Roozonline, it is possible to correct an editorial error, and the editorial board of Roozonline believes that publishing the cartoon was a judgmental error made by one of its members.

    I should add that I’ve had several cartoons on Mir Hossein Mousavi in Rooz and drawing him is not considered a taboo.

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