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Filmmakers: Officials arrest Iranian film industry workers

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Authorities have raided the offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals, arresting some of them, an award-winning Iranian filmmaker said.

Mohammad Rasoulof said in a statement Saturday night signed by dozens of film industry professionals on his Instagram account that security forces had arrested some people and confiscated film production equipment in raids in recent days. The statement condemned the actions and called them “illegal.”

In another Instagram post, Rasoulof identified the two detained filmmakers as Firouzeh Khosravani and Mina Keshavarz. Rasoulof was not targeted in the most recent raid.

Iranian media and authorities had no comment on the attack, and no further details were immediately available. Iranian authorities have occasionally arrested activists in the cultural field for alleged security violations.

Rasolov won the top prize at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival for his film No Evil. It tells four stories loosely tied to themes of personal freedom under Iran’s death penalty and tyranny.

Shortly after winning the award, he was sentenced to a year in prison by authorities for three films that authorities deemed “anti-establishment propaganda”. His lawyers appealed the verdict. He was also banned from filming and traveling abroad.

Iran’s conservative authorities, many of which are religiously sensitive, control all the levers of power in Iran. They have long viewed many cultural activities as part of the West’s “soft war” against the Islamic Republic. They say Westernization is trying to tarnish the country’s Islamic faith.

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