Star of Iranian Oscar-winning film arrested for backing anti-regime protests

Taraneh Alidoosti, known for her 2016 role in ‘The Salesman,’ detained for online posts supporting nationwide demonstrations

Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti during a photo call for the film "Forushande (The Salesman) at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, May 21, 2016.  (Joel Ryan/AP)
Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti during a photo call for the film "Forushande (The Salesman) at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, May 21, 2016. (Joel Ryan/AP)

TEHRAN — Iran arrested a prominent actor Saturday after she voiced support for the three-month-old protest movement triggered by the death of a woman in custody, Iranian media reported Saturday.

Taraneh Alidoosti, 38, was detained for “publishing false and distorted content and inciting chaos,” the Tasnim news agency reported.

She is best known for her role in the Oscar-winning 2016 film “The Salesman.”

Alidoosti’s most recent social media post was on December 8, the same day Mohsen Shekari, 23, became the first person executed by authorities over the protests.

“Your silence means the support of the oppression and the oppressor,” read text on an image shared to her Instagram account.

“Every international organization who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action is a disgrace to humanity,” Alidoosti wrote in the caption of her post.

This image released by Cohen Media group shows Shahab Hosseini, left, and Taraneh Alidoosti in a scene from “The Salesman.” The film is nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film. (Cohen Media Group via AP)is

The actor has been a prominent presence in Iranian cinema since she was a teenager. Recently, she starred in the film “Leila’s Brothers,” which screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The Islamic Republic has been rocked by protests triggered by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code.

On the day of Amini’s death, Alidoosti posted a photo to Instagram with text saying: “Damnation to this captivity.”

The caption to the post read: “Don’t forget what Iran’s women go through” and asked people to “say her name, spread the word.”

On November 9, she posted an image of herself without a headscarf, holding a paper with the words “Woman, life, freedom,” the main slogan of the protests.

Hot on the heels of Shekari’s execution, Iran publicly hanged protester Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, on December 12.

Nine other people arrested in connection with the unrest have been sentenced to death.

Thousands of people have been detained since the protests erupted and 400 have received jail sentences of up to 10 years for their involvement in the unrest, Iran’s judiciary said Tuesday.

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