Dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi arrested

Award-winning dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been arrested, the third director to be detained in less than a week, the Mehr news agency says.

Panahi, 62, won a Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival in 2015.

“Jafar Panahi has been arrested today (Monday) when he went to the prosecutor’s office to follow up on the situation of another filmmaker, Mohammad Rasoulof,” Mehr reports.

State news agency IRNA had reported late Friday that Rasoulof, also an award winning filmmaker, had been arrested along with colleague Mostafa Aleahmad.

Panahi has won a slew of awards at international festivals, including the top prize in Berlin for “Taxi” in 2015, and best screenplay at Cannes for his film “Three Faces” in 2018.

But since being convicted of “propaganda against the system” in 2010, following his support for anti-government protests and a string of films that critiqued modern Iran, he has been barred from leaving the country to pick up any of these awards.

Rasoulof, 50, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2020 with his film “There Is No Evil” but was likewise unable to accept the award in person as he was barred from leaving Iran.

Rasoulof and Aleahmad were arrested over events relating to a deadly building collapse of the Metropol building in the city of Abadan, an event that sparked angry protests, official news agency IRNA said.

“In the midst of the heartbreaking incident in Abadan’s Metropol, (the filmmakers) were involved in inciting unrest and disrupting the psychological security of society,” IRNA said.

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