Is the Taraneh Mousavi Story a Hoax?

July 25, 2009 at 7:54 am 20 comments

Updated 08/26/2009

On August 14, The Observers based in France published this clip. It’s from the Islamic Republic of Iran News Networks which claimed to have interviewed Taraneh Mousavi’s family. Does it pass the credibility test?

In my opinon, it raises more questions than answers. First, it shows the mother accompanied by her daughter. Was the Taraneh in question supposed to be an only child? Next, why interview her family? What would make it so difficult to have somebody interview her in Canada where she’s supposed to be living? Finally, is it possible, as many others have alleged, that it’s not the same Taraneh Mousavi being discussed in the interview? Could she just be another woman sharing the same name?

Transcripts of the inteview as translated into English by Omid Habininia.

00:00:00 Who is it in this picture, which has been published on so many websites?
00:00:12 That’s my daughter.
00:00:14 And where is she now?
00:00:16 She’s in Canada, in Vancouver.
00:00:19 How long has she been there?
00:00:21 For a couple of years now.
00:00:25 When was the last time she came to the country?
00:00:28 About 18 months ago.
00:00:32 Had you heard about the stuff that’s said online?
00:00:36 No I hadn’t.
00:00:38 When did you hear?
00:00:40 Today!
00:00:42.And Taraneh herself?
00:00:44 I don’t think she knows about it.
00:00:47 When was the last time you spoke to each other?
00:00:53 Er, this morning.
00:00:55 And for what reason did you call her?
00:01:00 I call her everyday to see how she’s doing.
00:01:04 And you didn’t know about this story either?
00:01:06 No I didn’t.
00:01:08 How did you find out?
00:01:10 You were the one to tell us before you came here.
00:01:15 What was your reaction to such news?
00:01:21 First we laughed, then we thought perhaps someone was trying to play a trick on us, make fun of us.
00:01:30 And you, Taraneh’s mother?
00:01:35 Well I didn’t believe it at first, I thought someone must be playing a prank.
00:01:40 And if she should hear it herself? What would she think?
00:01:44 She’d probably laugh like me.
00:01:48 What time is it there now?.
00:01:53 Could we perhaps give her a call?
00:01:57 It’s about 4 or 4:30 in the morning, she’ll be sleeping.
00:02:01 So we should wait for the morning prayer?
00:02:04 Yes we should wait!
00:02:08 Hi Taraneh.
00:02:10 Hello Marryam, what’s the matter?
00:02:12 Don’t worry, but some people published your photo on some websites.
00:02:17 They say that your body was burnt…
00:02:36 The line is dead.
00:02:37 We heard from her this morning so I wasn’t worried by the news.
00:02:41 If it had happened differently, I might have had a heart attack!
00:02:46 Now we’re asking the government to investigate this affair.
00:02:50 Of something which never actually happened.

Since I posted the Taraneh Mousavi story on July 20, my blog has experienced a significant increase in traffic. Since then, I received over 1,000 hits coming from all over the world. Such interest should have generated a lot of comments, but it hasn’t. I wonder why. Could it be because it’s a hoax? Do readers find it too improbable and full of holes?

This has led me to search the Internet for more information relevant to the case. I’ve found she was an only child and that she was studying to be a beautician. That she had a beautiful voice and played the piano well. In addition, I’ve read something about authorities advising Tarameh’s parents not to discuss with anybody the circumstances of her death. But, so far, there’s no solid evidence that her body has been found. Moreover, not a single person or relative has come out to positively claim she even existed. It’s all been rumors and nothing more.

I thought a former colleague could help. I had lunch with him yesterday. We used to work as software engineers at a financial company located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He has an interesting background. He’s an Iranian by birth who grew up in England. He happens to be related to Mir-Hossein Mousavi who ran and lost in the last presidential election.

The fact that his father and Mousavi are cousins doesn’t mean that they share the same politics. According to him, his father worked in the government of the late Shah of Iran and remained loyal to him until the end while Mousavi was part of the revolutionary group that toppled the Shah.

However, blood being thicker than politics keeps the cousins close and on speaking terms with each other.

I asked him if he has heard of Taraneh Mousavi. Could she be a relative, too?

He hasn’t heard of her.

I told him that her story is all over the Internet. She was supposedly arrested during a post-election rally. She was detained, raped, and murdered by agents of the current regime.

He said that he and members of his family have stopped relying on the Internet for news because it has become harder to figure out the truth from what you read. Calling relatives in Iran for information doesn’t help much either as they are reluctant to talk out of fear that the lines are tapped.

At any rate, he believes that the Tarameh story is fake. No true Iranian could do such a horrible thing to a fellow Iranian much less to a woman. Furthermore, if it’s indeed true, how come it hasn’t elicited much reaction from the leaders of the opposition or the government for that matter? It’s strange that CNN and the mass media have been silent, too. It’s such a sensitive story to be ignored.

Still, it’s my gut feeling that it happened. Don’t ask me why. In due time, I’m confident that the truth will come out and justice will prevail for this young woman.


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20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. javad  |  July 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    we dont forget violence murder of TARANEH MOSAVI by basijmilisia facist arm and mulos regim agist Iranian people.

    • 2. plaridel  |  July 27, 2009 at 5:04 pm


      these goons must have been recruited from the provinces. am i right?

  • 3. Sammy  |  July 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Well, whatever the exact circumstances with Taraneh Mousavi may have been, one thing will remain fairly clear: we have Neda’s case which is pretty airtight, and the many other 100s of Iranian freedom fighters who have been tortured and still detained illegally by this tyrannical regime.

    • 4. plaridel  |  July 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm


      how long shall we wait until those in the know finally speak out?

      • 5. Sammy  |  July 29, 2009 at 1:18 am

        Perhaps when the 12th Imam returns to restore theocracy in Iran. (j/k.) … Hopefully when democratic rights and freedom of the press are realized so that the truth can be revealed. Let’s hope that it will be in the near future.

  • 6. Ali Reza  |  July 31, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    you dont acquire the title of intellect by questioning the death of innocents. shame on you. if you were able to read farsi which you obviously can’t, you would discover a myraid of sites in farsi describing with great detail the crime of taranehs murder.

    • 7. plaridel  |  July 31, 2009 at 10:41 pm


      if you reread my post, you’ll know that we’re on the same side.

  • 8. Ali Reza  |  July 31, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    also cnn is garbage, to act surprised that they havent exploited her death is naive. they cant verify it so they dont report it. and as far as an iranian not being able to do this to need only to watch a current iranian movie out called the stoning of soraya.

    • 9. plaridel  |  July 31, 2009 at 10:43 pm


      that’s where the problem lies. the world wants to believe, but there’ll be no justice for taraneh until somebody provides solid evidence on the case. as for the movie that you mentioned, i’ll look for a copy and watch it.

  • 10. Ahmad  |  August 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I guess you are not an active one in green revelution!!! and it is suspicious that you posted a news about Taraneh Mousavi and now you are point this story and call it a hoax one. I have no doubt that you knew what you are going to do when you posted the first one. By the way, both Taraneh is real or fake, you can not deny all turtures and rape that is going on in Iran by Basiji militia. We have heard many many and we know someones who have raped directly.

    • 11. plaridel  |  August 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm


      the iranian government has been accused of spreading lies and look what it has done to its credibility. i want to believe that the taraneh story is true. the green cause would be taking a big step backward instead of forward if proven to be a lie.

  • 12. Lorenzo Bouchard  |  September 28, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Tarani Mousavi is not in Vancouver. I live nearby and have contacted various associations in Noth Vancouver, which is the main center of Iranian citizens. None knew where she was, period.
    So much for Iranian propaganda

    • 13. plaridel  |  September 29, 2009 at 8:58 am


      it’s propaganda alright. the media would have found her if she really lives in canada.

  • 14. QLIneOrientalist  |  November 25, 2009 at 7:16 am

    The story is absolutely a hoax. It was started by three bloggers who live outside of Iran who have a record of rumor-mongering.
    There is plenty of torture and abuse which goes on in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic. Let’s focus on them and stop damaging our credibility.
    and related reports on this blog.

    • 15. plaridel  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm


      thank you for providing the information and the good work you did in finding the truth.

      • 16. Evan  |  February 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

        Thanks for keeping an open mind!

  • 17. Sabz Qaba  |  February 28, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I have read both your earlier entry about Taraneh Mousavi, as well as this one.

    I have the following to say.

    I am from Lahore, Pakistam. I am a Shia, which is still the faith of the majority of Iranians. Since my childhoos, I have made frequent trips to Iran, mu father being emplied there till the mid-nineties. My most recent visit was April last year, about two months before the election. The treatment meted out by Iranian officials to visitors to their country is the least civilized and most uncouth I have encountered in my travels to India, Bangladesh, UAE, England and Sweden.

    The Taraneh Moisavi story is at least plaisuble, if not probable. The Iranian regime IS tyrannical, and anyone who knows the meaning of tyranny knows that tyrannical fit the Welayat-e-faqeeh system to a T.

    Rape of women dissidents is nothing new in Iran. It has been done, repeatedly since the very early days of the Khomeini revilution.

    The idea that a marriage of an imprisoned and convicted woman, against her will, to a prison guard or someone else is a legal marriage is pure bullcrap. It is rape. Such “marriages” were enacted by the hundreds in the early days of the Khomenei revolution, the woman raped and later shot.

    What used to happen then can happen now.

    The interbiew you have so painstakingly reproduced here rings false.

    Now the question is why the world media have not taken up the cause of Taraneh Mousavi.

    I will mention the case of Neda Soltan Agha, and build my case as flowing from that one.

    The Neda case became headline news SOLELY due to that cell-phone video which showed a woman being shot and dying on that side street.

    Had that video NOT been available to the media, what we would have heard woild at the maximum have been “According to reports a young woman was also among those killed in today’s violemce”.

    It was that video, showing a handful of people in that side street,, the woman collapsing on the street, the blood, her death . . . which made Neda Agha Soltan the Neda-e-Iran or Neda-e-mardom “Voice of Iran” “Voice of the People” as she is now called.

    The Taraneh Mousavi jas no such vudeo to suppty it. She was whisked awau, tortured, raped, murdered. Period.

    Taraneh Mousavi’s story is not the only one to come out of Iran these days.

    The above URL pertains to a 17 year old girl, Saeedaj Aghaee, who was arrested by plainclothesmen for shouting slogans on the roof top of her home. This gorl was also raped and murdered, her body burnt with acod from the knees ip and buried in an anonynous grave.

  • 18. QLineOrientalist  |  February 28, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Not so fast.
    If the video had not existed to the AqaSultani killing, there would have been dozens of eye-witnesses.
    What we have in the Taraneh Mousavi case is *no* eyewitnesses. The only evidence we have is a clique of three bloggers with a history of forgeries in the past, as I’ve demonstrated.
    The Saideh Aqayi case has been completely discredited and no one raises it any more. Why? Because her mother came forward and said that her child had run away and was not dead. Mehdi Karroubi, who had championed the case, admitted himself that it is a hoax.
    There was rape in Iranian prisons even before the revolution, and there are pretty clear indications that this went on more or less systematically after the revolution. What I am saying is that an opposition which builds its case on this based on clear hoaxes is setting itself up for defeat. The Saideh case is a case in point. Karroubi had to backtrack double-time or face charges of libel which could have landed him in some very hot water indeed.

  • 19. s  |  March 25, 2010 at 2:40 am

    It’s all rubbish!!!! All this story doesn’t add up. I believe there is a lot of wrong things like rapes and killings happening in Iran that are caused by Basji militia but this story is just bullshit.


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