Iranian Filmmaker Arrested As Cultural Crackdown Continues

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Iranian filmmaker Ali Ahmadzadeh has been arrested, the latest in a series of detentions of cultural and activist figures in Iran.

Sources told RFERL’s Radio Farda that Ahmadzadeh was arrested in Tehran on August 30, after being summoned to security agencies several times in recent months.

The reason for his arrest is not clear. However, he had recently finished production of a film without obtaining a production license from the Cinematography Organization of the Ministry of Islamic Guidance.

Ahmadzadeh has long been on the radar screens of the government.

His second film, Atom Heart Mother, screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014, was only allowed to be shown in Iran in 2017 after modifications required by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance. Soon after it began showing in Iran, officials reversed their decision and the film was pulled from cinemas.

Pressure on Iranian filmmakers has intensified in recent weeks.

Well-known figures such as Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof have been arrested, while cases have been filed against other filmmakers such as Majid Barzegar, Mohsen Amiryousefi, and Mojtaba Mirtahmaseb. All were summoned to security agencies as a prelude to their cases.

The pressure on filmmakers also comes amid a broader crackdown on dissent in Iran. Several journalists, activists, and lawyers have been summoned or arrested by authorities in recent weeks.

At the same time, authorities have increased their pursuit of women who have pushed back on the compulsory hijab rules after the announcement of new restrictions on how women may dress at universities and government offices

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda