Tehran governor threatens ‘celebrities who fan the flames’ with protests – Deadline
An Iranian government official has warned action will be taken against celebrities who publicly show support for anti-government protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody.
These protests garnered unprecedented public support from a number of prominent Iranian cultural, media and sports figures, who previously had not openly commented on the political situation in their country.
Mohsen Mansouri, governor of Tehran province, said authorities would be dealing with “celebrities who fanned the flames of the riots and those who sign [lucrative] contracts with radio and television, but in times of riots, take a stand against security and order.
“Of course, we may not deal with some cases immediately for material reasons, but we will definitely deal with them after a few days and at the right time,” he told the official IRNA news agency.
Over the weekend, Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi posted a video on his Instagram account asking the world to unite in solidarity with the protesters.
It was an unusual decision on the part of the director, who has moved freely inside and outside Iran until now, and who is currently attending the Zurich Film Festival as the president of the jury. .
Separately, another group of Iranian film professionals wrote an open letter denouncing the actions of the authorities and expressing support for the protests.
Among the signatories were filmmakers Ali Abbasi (Holy Spider)Shirin Neshat (land of dreams) and Bahman Ghobadi (The Four Walls) and holy spider Zar Amir Ebrahimi, winner of the best actress at Cannes.
Back in Iran, popular and award-winning actress Fatameh Motamed-Ayra defiantly took off her hijab during the much-publicized funeral of actor Amin Tarokh, who died of heart failure, as she delivered a eulogy in his honor.
#IranProtests2022 : Famous actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya appears without a hijab as she gives a speech at the funeral of fellow actor Amin Tarokh #فاطمه_معتمدآریا #مهسا_امینی #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/911wAe3bFe
– sebastien usher (@sebusher) September 28, 2022
The warning from Tehran Provincial Governor Mansouri echoes a veiled threat from Iran’s Culture Minister Abbas Salehi earlier this week. He said actresses publicly removing their hijab would have to look for other work, which implies that they will no longer be allowed to practice their profession.
Mansouri was speaking on the sidelines of a commemoration ceremony at a religious shrine in the city of Safadasht, about 30 miles west of Tehran.
Calling the protests “riots”, Mansouri said the unrest had been contained for the past 24 hours. He blamed foreign influences for stoking the “riots” and said authorities were now cracking down on the instigators.
Iranian authorities shut down the internet as they tried to contain the protests, so it is difficult to verify whether Mansouri’s claims that the protests have ended are true.
Amini died on September 16 after being taken into custody for failing to wear her hijab in accordance with Iran’s religion-based law. Police say she died of a heart attack, but eyewitnesses and people detained with the young woman said she was severely beaten.
As news of her death spread, spontaneous protests, often led by women defiantly tearing off their hijabs, began to spread.
Human rights groups report that at least 76 protesters have been killed so far, most of them by direct fire from security forces.
A number of local journalists, who were covering the situation, were also arrested and detained, including Niloufar Hamedi, who was the first to report Amini’s injuries.
The protests come amid an increasingly oppressive regime of President Ebrahim Raisi’s government as it tries to contain growing discontent.
This anger has been fueled by a number of issues, including the cost of living crisis, annoyance at the government’s mismanagement of the country, and fatigue with the oppressive religion-based regime, especially among the younger generations.
It has also led to the government cracking down on free speech with the detention over the summer of a number of filmmakers with histories of political dissent, including Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi.