Film Committee Highlights Treatment Of Iranian Cinema, Theater Artists

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

A film committee in Iran has collected a list of 100 Iranian cinematographers and music and theater artists who have been summoned, arrested, or banned from leaving the country in the last few months, Iranian media reported.

In a report published on November 14, the Shargh newspaper wrote that the committee refused to publish the names of the artists.

The newspaper said Mojgan Ilanlu and Katayon Riahi are among famous artists who are in detention.

Riahi was one of the first Iranian celebrities to have removed her hijab in protest of Mahsa Amini's death, and Ilanlu, an Iranian documentary filmmaker, had previously published pictures of herself walking on the streets of Tehran without a hijab in solidarity with the anti-government protests.

The moves come amid a brutal crackdown by the government on weeks of unrest -- one of the deepest challenges to the Islamic regime since the revolution in 1979 -- that erupted following the September 16 death of Amini while in police custody for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.

Since the start of daily protests that have rocked Iran since Amini's death, several Iranian cinematographers and prominent public figures announced their support for the protesters.

In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the statement of support "worthless" in a speech and asked the judiciary to decide "whether their stance is criminal or not."

Prior to the recent wave of nationwide protests, three other prominent Iranian cinematographers, Mostafa al-Ahmad, Mohammad Rasulof, and Jafar Panahi were arrested after they joined a group of more than 300 Iranian filmmakers in calling on the security forces to "lay down arms" in the face of public outrage over "corruption, theft, inefficiency, and repression" following a building collapse in May in the city of Abadan, which killed 41 people.

The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran on October 3 announced a sentence of six years against al-Ahmad.

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