Taraneh Alidoosti, the star of the Oscar-winning film “The Salesman” and one of the most prominent Iranian actresses working today, has reportedly been arrested by Iranian authorities on charges of spreading falsehoods. The news was first announced by Iranian state media agency IRNA and reported by the Associated Press.
Iran has been engulfed in protests for the past several months, beginning when a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini was killed by police for not adhering to strict rules that require women to cover their heads at all times. Several other protestors have been executed in the subsequent months, including Mohsen Shekari, a 23-year-old man accused of blocking a street while protesting.
Alidoosti had used her personal Instagram account (which has since been deleted but once had over 8 million followers) to express solidarity with the protesters. She condemned the execution of Shekari and posted a controversial photo of herself without a headscarf. She was charged with spreading false information because she did not provide documents to back up her claims.
The Iranian film community has long been at the forefront of the protests and several important filmmakers including Mohammad Rasoulof and Jafar Panahi have both been arrested for criticizing the Iranian government. Panahi has continued to make his voice heard through statements released from prison.
“We are filmmakers. We are part of Iranian cinema,” Panahi said in a statement read at the New York Film Festival. “For us, to live is to create. We create works that are not commissioned. Therefore, those in power see us as criminals. Independent cinema reflects its own times. It draws inspiration from society. And cannot be indifferent to it. The history of Iranian cinema witnesses the constant and active presence of independent directors who have struggled to push back censorship and to ensure the survival of this art. While on this path, some were banned from making films, others were forced into exile or reduced to isolation. And yet, the hope of creating again is a reason for existence. No matter where, when, or under what circumstances, an independent filmmaker is either creating or thinking about creation. We are filmmakers, independent ones.”