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Filmmaker: Officials Arrest Iranian Film Industry Workers

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An award-winning Iranian filmmaker says 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 on Saturday night that security forces had made a few arrests and confiscated film production equipment in raids over the past few days. The statement condemned the actions and called them “unlawful”.

In a separate Instagram post, Rasoulof identified two of the detained filmmakers as Firouzeh Khosravani and Mina Keshavarz. Rasoulof has not been targeted in recent raids.

Iranian media and authorities did not comment on the raids and no further details were immediately available. Iranian authorities occasionally arrest cultural activists for alleged security violations.

Rasoulof won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 for his film ‘There Is No Evil’. It tells four stories loosely related to themes of the death penalty in Iran and individual freedoms under tyranny.

Shortly after receiving the award, he was sentenced to a year in prison, but his lawyer appealed the sentence. He was banned from making films and traveling abroad.

Iran’s conservative authorities, many of whom have religious sensitivities, control all the levers of power in Iran. They have long viewed many cultural activities as part of a “soft war” by the West against the Islamic Republic. They say Westernization is trying to tarnish the country’s Islamic beliefs.

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