Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi has demanded the release of actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who was arrested in Iran.
In an Instagram post, Farhadi wrote: “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. If showing such support is a crime, then tens of millions of people of this land are criminals.”
Taraneh was reportedly detained after expressing solidarity with anti-government protestors in a social media post on charges of “spreading falsehoods” relating to the protest movement. Before her social media was switched off, she had condemned people who had not spoken out against the execution of human rights activist Mohsen Shekari.
Farhadi directed Alidoosti in The Salesman, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2017, and has worked with her on several other films.
Alidoosti was at the Cannes Film Festival this year with Competition Title Leila’s Brothers, and appeared in the film Orca.
Farhadi also called for the release of other prominent Iranian creatives caught up in the current cultural war with the government. “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,” he wrote.
Panahi and Rasoulof are among several others in the creative sectors who have been detained recently. The list also includes filmmaker Mostafa Al-Ahmad, singer Singer Shervin Hajipour and Kurdish Tehran-based rapper Saman Yasin.
Alidoosti recently posted an Instagram photo without a headscarf, a garment required in the Islamic Republic. It was done in solidarity with widespread anti-government protests sparked by the death in police custody of a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, for not wearing a headscarf in public.