TABRIZ, Iran, May 30 (UPI) -- Mir Hussein Moussavi, the strongest challenger to Iran's president in the upcoming election, has drawn a swell of support from students, observers say.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Moussavi, a moderate, has denounced the pressure put on student activists through expulsions and jail terms during President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration. Ahead of the June 12 election, he called the president's policies "old and backward."
"This is all my hope, and I will do my share so that he gets elected," student Rassool Zarehee, 22, said after a rally. "We have been like prisoners at university for the past four years."
Moussavi, a former prime minister, said at the rally that the major goal of the 1979 Iranian revolution, which overthrew the country's monarchy in favor of an Islamic theocracy, was freedom.
"We wanted to become free and be progressive in the world, not faced with backward ideas and notions today," he said.