Filmmaker: Officials Arrest Workers In Iran’s Film Industry

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An award-winning Iranian filmmaker says authorities have raided the offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals, arresting some of them.

Mohammad Rasoulof said in a statement signed by dozens of film industry professionals on his Instagram account late Saturday that security forces made some arrests and confiscated film production equipment during raids 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 was not the target of the recent raids.

Iranian media and authorities have not commented on the raids and no additional details were immediately available. Authorities in Iran occasionally arrest activists in cultural camps for alleged security violations.

Rasoulof won the first prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 for his film “There Is No Evil”. It 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 a year in prison for three films he made that authorities deemed “propaganda against the system.” His attorney appealed the sentence. He was also banned from making movies and traveling abroad.

Iran’s conservative authorities, many of them religiously sensitive, control all the levers of power in Iran. For a long time they have seen many cultural activities as part of a “soft war” of the West against the Islamic Republic. They say that Westernization is trying to tarnish the country’s Islamic beliefs.

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