Iranian Filmmaker Ahmadzadeh Released After Five Days In Detention

Iranian filmmaker Ali Ahmadzadeh has been released after spending several days in one of the detention centers of the Intelligence Organization of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

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.

After that, the editor of the Mizan news agency affiliated with Iran's judiciary denied the claim, but Ahmadzadeh told Radio Farda that after he was summoned last week, he was held for five days until being released on September 3.

Ahmadzadeh has long been on the radar of the government and his detention is the latest in a series of arrests of cultural and activist figures in Iran.

In a note that he gave to Radio Farda, Ahmadzadeh explained how, over the last decade, the screening of his works in Iran has been restricted and that he faces a new charge for producing a film without obtaining a production license from the Cinematography Organization of the Ministry of Islamic Guidance.

Ahmadzadeh’s second film, Atom Heart Mother, which 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