Britain urges Iran to stop ‘unfairly detaining’ dual nationals

PARIS: Iranian authorities released star actor Taraneh Alidoosti on bail on Wednesday after detaining her for nearly three weeks for her support of the protest movement, her lawyer said.

Alidoosti is one of Iran’s most acclaimed film stars, earning international acclaim for his performances in director Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning films, including the Oscar-winning 2016 film “The Salesman.”

His detention had caused an uproar in the film industry and amplified concerns over authorities’ crackdown on more than three months of protests that have seen thousands of arrests.

“My client was released on bail today (Wednesday),” lawyer Zahra Minooee told the ISNA news agency.

Footage published by Iranian media, including the Shargh newspaper, showed her walking out of Evin prison in Tehran, holding flowers and notably not wearing the Islamic headscarf, in apparent defiance of Iran’s strict dress laws.

Iranian film industry figures still inside the country traveled to welcome him, including directors Mani Haghighi and Saeed Roustayi, who showed the footage.

Other photos of her being chased in a car showed her sticking her tongue out and flashing a “V” for the victory sign.

“Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti released after three weeks in detention: what joy and what relief! tweeted the Cannes Film Festival. “Let’s stay involved! he added.

Iran has been plagued by protests since the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd who was arrested for allegedly breaking the country’s strict dress code.

Alidoosti, 38, was arrested on December 17 after posting a series of social media posts supporting the protest movement, including removing her headscarf and condemning the execution of protesters.

More than 600 artists from around the world, including actors Kate Winslet and Mark Rylance and director Pedro Almodovar, had signed an open letter calling for his release.

Her arrest “was a warning to public figures in Iran amid the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on nationwide Woman, Life, Freedom protests,” reads the petition, posted on Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo’s Instagram page.

Alidoosti attended this year’s Cannes Film Festival to promote the acclaimed film “Leila’s Brothers” which she starred in and which was directed by Roustayi.

She appeared in two of Farhadi’s early films before he achieved international fame, “Beautiful City” in 2004 and “Fireworks Wednesday” in 2006.

Alidoosti next appeared in the 2009 film ‘About Elly’, which won Farhadi the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival, before reuniting for ‘The Salesman’.

The daughter of a former Iranian international footballer, Alidoosti has long been seen as a champion of women’s rights and civil rights in Iran.

On November 9, she posted an image of herself without a headscarf, holding a paper with the words “Woman, Life, Freedom”, the main slogan of the protests.

Alidoosti had, in a social media post, vowed not to leave Iran and said she was ready to “pay any price to defend my rights”.

His Instagram account with more than 8 million followers has been inaccessible since his arrest.

Alidoosti’s most recent social media post was on December 8, the same day 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari became the first person executed by authorities following the protests.

“Your silence means support for oppression and oppressor,” she wrote on Instagram.

A second protester, Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged in public on December 12 and activists fear a greater risk of execution.

The judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency had said the actor was arrested because she “did not provide documentation for some of her claims” about the protests.

He complained that “a number of celebrities” had posted “provocative material in support of the street riots”.

Oslo-based monitor Iran Human Rights said Iranian security forces killed at least 476 people during the protests, which Iranian officials generally refer to as “riots”.

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