Filmmaker: Authorities arrest Iranian film industry workers

An award-winning Iranian filmmaker says authorities raided the offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals and arrested some of them.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – An award-winning Iranian filmmaker said authorities raided the offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals and arrested some of them.

Mohammad Rasoulof said in a statement signed by dozens of film industry professionals on his Instagram account on Saturday that security forces made some arrests and confiscated film production equipment during raids carried out in recent days. The statement condemned the actions and called them “illegal”.

In a separate Instagram post, Rasoulof identified two of the detained filmmakers as Firouzeh Khosravani and Mina Keshavarz. Rasoulof has not been targeted in recent attacks.

Iranian media and authorities did not comment on the attacks and no further details were immediately available. Authorities in Iran occasionally arrest activists in cultural areas for alleged security breaches.

Rasoulof won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 for his film “There Is No Evil”. He tells four stories loosely connected to the themes of the death penalty in Iran and personal freedoms under tyranny.

Shortly after receiving the award, he was sentenced to one year in prison for three films he made that authorities deemed “propaganda against the system.” His lawyer appealed the sentence. He was also banned from making films and traveling abroad.

Iran’s conservative officials, many with religious sensitivities, control all the levers of power in Iran. They have long viewed many cultural activities as part of a “soft war” by the West against the Islamic Republic. They say westernization is trying to tarnish the country’s Islamic beliefs.

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