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Director: Authorities arrest film industry workers in Iran

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An award-winning Iranian filmmaker says authorities have 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 late Saturday that security forces made several 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 arrested filmmakers as Firouzeh Khosravani and Mina Keshavarz. Rasoulof was not targeted in recent raids.

Iranian media and authorities have not commented on the raids and there are no additional details immediately. Authorities in Iran occasionally arrest cultural activists for suspected security breaches.

Rasoulof won the top prize at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival for his film There Is No Evil. It tells four stories loosely related 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 feature films, which authorities found to be propaganda against the system. His lawyer appealed the sentence. He was also banned from making films and traveling abroad.

Iran’s conservative authorities, very religiously sensitive, control all levers of power in Iran. They have long seen many cultural activities as part of a lenient Western war against the Islamic Republic. They say Westernization is trying to tarnish the country’s Islamic beliefs.

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