DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ( Associated Press) – An award-winning Iranian filmmaker said authorities raided the offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals and arrested some of them.
Mohamed Rasoulof said in a statement signed by dozens of film industry professionals on his Instagram account late Saturday that security forces made some arrests and confiscated film production equipment during raids in recent days. The statement condemned the actions and called them “illegal”.
In a separate Instagram post, Rasoolof identified the two filmmakers who were detained as Feroze Khosrwani and Meena Keshawarj. Rasoulof was not targeted in the recent raids.
Iranian media and officials did not comment on the raid and no additional details were immediately available. Authorities in Iran sometimes arrest activists in cultural areas over alleged security breaches.
Rasolof won the Berlin Film Festival’s top prize in 2020 for his film “Late Is No Evil”. It tells four stories dealing with themes of personal liberty under the death penalty and tyranny in Iran.
Shortly after receiving the award he was sentenced to one year in prison but his lawyer appealed against the sentence. He has been banned from making films and traveling abroad.
Iran’s conservative authorities, with many religious sensibilities, control all levers of power in Iran. They have long seen many cultural activities as part of a “soft war” by the West against the Islamic Republic. They say that westernization is trying to tarnish the Islamic beliefs of the country.