Campaign

Update

May 9, 2021

The Islamic Republic of Iran Assaults Intellectuals and Artists

May 9, 2021

To enforce societal ignorance and superstition, the fascist Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has, since its founding in 1979, brutally suppressed many intellectuals and artists.  It has imprisoned and/or banned progressive or even mildly oppositional filmmakers, attempting to crush even people’s dreams. 

This has been part of the new wave of repression, and it’s met with righteous defiance.

 In 2020 interviews, director Mohammed Rasoulof criticized his prior films’ self-censorship, saying, “I have made my decision to speak out” and “…I do not want to make a film rooted in the acceptance of tyranny.”  His upcoming Golden Bear award-winning film “There is No Evil” examines Iran’s death penalty, including those who carry it out and those who disobey their orders. Filmed in secret, it’s banned in Iran.  After repeated arrests and clashes with the regime, Rasoulof was arrested in March 2020 and given a one-year prison sentence for “spreading propaganda” against the IRI.  He has so far refused to turn himself in to serve his sentence because the COVID pandemic is raging through Iran’s prisons.

To enforce societal ignorance and superstition, the fascist Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has, since its founding in 1979, brutally suppressed many intellectuals and artists.  It has imprisoned and/or banned progressive or even mildly oppositional filmmakers, attempting to crush even people’s dreams. 

This has been part of the new wave of repression, and it’s met with righteous defiance.

 In 2020 interviews, director Mohammed Rasoulof criticized his prior films’ self-censorship, saying, “I have made my decision to speak out” and “…I do not want to make a film rooted in the acceptance of tyranny.”  His upcoming Golden Bear award-winning film “There is No Evil” examines Iran’s death penalty, including those who carry it out and those who disobey their orders. Filmed in secret, it’s banned in Iran.  After repeated arrests and clashes with the regime, Rasoulof was arrested in March 2020 and given a one-year prison sentence for “spreading propaganda” against the IRI.  He has so far refused to turn himself in to serve his sentence because the COVID pandemic is raging through Iran’s prisons.

Director and screenwriter Jafar Panahi makes films from a humanistic viewpoint, often focusing on the oppression of women, children and the poor.  In 2010, he was given a six-year sentence and 20-year ban from writing or directing any movies or giving media interviews and prevented from traveling outside Iran. While on appeal, he made a documentary video diary that was reportedly smuggled out of Iran on a flash drive, hidden inside a cake. It was shown at the 2011 Cannes Film festival, prompting directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Coppola to speak out in support of imprisoned Iranian filmmakers. Panahi’s secretly shot his film “Taxi” in mid-2015 in Iran.  In the movie he doubles as a taxi driver while filming its passengers, including the now-imprisoned lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh.

 Imprisoned documentary filmmaker Mohammed Nourizad is reportedly very near death due to torture and being denied medical care, sparking an outcry in Iran and internationally.  Nourizad became a critic of Iran’s regime over a decade ago and has repeatedly faced jail ever since.  Last year he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for signing a public letter to Supreme Leader Khameini calling on him to step down.  Given his age (68), poor health, and Iran’s COVID infected prisons, this is a potential death sentence. 

These lives and artistic voices, and many more, are some of lives of political prisoners in Iran that hang in the balance.  They all demand we ACT now.  

Related Resources: