Filmmakers: Authorities arrest Iranian film industry workers

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DUBAI, UAE – 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.

In a statement signed by dozens of film industry professionals on his Instagram account late Saturday night, Mohammad Rasool said security forces had made some arrests and confiscated filmmaking equipment during a recent operation. The statement condemned the actions and called them “illegal.”

In a separate Instagram post, Rasulouf identified the two arrested filmmakers as Firozeh Khosravani and Mina Keshvaraj. Rasoulf has not been targeted in recent raids.

Iranian media and authorities have not commented on the operation, and no further details were immediately available. Iranian authorities occasionally arrest cultural activists for alleged security breaches.

Rasulouf won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 for his film “There Is No Evil”. It tells four stories that are loosely linked to the theme of personal freedom under the death penalty and torture in Iran.

Shortly after receiving the award, he was sentenced to one year in prison for three films that authorities found to be “propaganda against the system.” His lawyer appealed against the sentence. He was also banned from making films and traveling abroad.

Iran’s conservative authorities, many of whom have religious sensitivities, control all of Iran’s power. As part of the West’s “soft war” against the Islamic Republic, they have long witnessed many cultural activities. They say Westernization is trying to tarnish the country’s Islamic faith.

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