The celebrated Iranian director Asghar Farhadi on Tuesday blasted the arrest of film actor Taraneh Alidoosti, who was detained by authorities after she expressed solidarity with nationwide anti-government protests that have rocked the country.
In a post on Instagram, Farhadi demanded the immediate release of Alidoosti, who starred in his film “The Salesman,” a Tehran-set drama that won the Oscar for best foreign language feature in 2016.
“I have worked with Taraneh on four films and now she is in prison for her rightful support of her fellow countrymen and her opposition to the unjust sentences being issued,” Farhadi wrote on Instagram. “If showing such support is a crime, then tens of millions of people of this land are criminals.”
“I stand with Taraneh and demand her release alongside that of my other fellow cineastes Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof and all the other less-known prisoners whose only crime is the attempt for a better life,” Farhadi added, referring to two acclaimed Iranian filmmakers who were widely reported to have been punished by the regime before the latest wave of protests.
The state media outlet IRNA reported Saturday that Alidoosti, 38, was detained a week after she posted on Instagram expressing solidarity with a man who was recently executed because authorities alleged he blocked a road in Tehran and stabbed a pro-government militia member who required stitches.
Iranian state media, citing the media arm of the country’s judiciary, reported that the beloved actor was arrested because she did not offer “any documents in line with her claims.”
In the Instagram post, Alidoosti wrote in part: “Every international organization who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”
Iran has been gripped by protests since the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after she was detained by the government’s morality police. The demonstrations have since transformed into one of the most forceful challenges to Iran’s clerical regime since it was installed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Farhadi is widely considered one of the best working filmmakers in contemporary Iran. He won an Academy Award in 2012 for the drama “A Separation,” and he has drawn acclaim for films such as “The Past,” “Everybody Knows” and “A Hero.”