Iran has arrested two prominent actors who expressed solidarity with the protest movement and publicly removed their headscarves in an act of defiance against the regime, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.
Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were both detained after being summoned by prosecutors in a probe into their “provocative” social media posts and media activity, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said.
Iran’s clerical leadership has been shaken by more than three months of women-led demonstrations sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman of Kurdish origin who had been arrested by the morality police in Tehran.
Authorities in the Islamic republic describe the protests as “riots” and accuse the country’s Western foes of fomenting them.
Ghaziani, a vocal critic of the crackdown on protesters, was arrested for inciting and supporting the “riots” and for communicating with opposition media, IRNA said.
The 52-year-old film star had already indicated she had been summoned by the Iranian judiciary, and published a video on Instagram of herself removing the obligatory hijab.
“Maybe this will be my last post,” she wrote on Saturday.
“From this moment on, whatever happens to me, know that as always, I am with the Iranian people until my last breath,” she wrote.
The video, which appears to have been filmed in a shopping street, shows Ghaziani bareheaded facing the camera without speaking and then turning around and binding her hair into a ponytail.
In a post last week, she accused the “child-killer” Iranian government of “murdering” more than 50 children.
Riahi was later arrested in the same probe, IRNA said.
The actor, 60, who has appeared in a string of award-winning movies and is known for her charitable work, had in September given an interview to London-based Iran International TV, an outlet despised by the regime, without wearing a hijab.
She expressed solidarity with the protests that have swept Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, as well as opposition to the obligatory hijab.
According to the judiciary’s Mizan Online news Web site, Ghaziani was among eight people who were summoned by prosecutors over “provocative” material posted on social media.
They also included Yahya Golmohammadi, coach of Tehran’s soccer team Persepolis FC, who had strongly criticized players on the national squad for not “bringing the voice of oppressed people to the ears of the authorities.”
The comment came after Iran’s national soccer team last week met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ahead of their appearance at the World Cup, which began on Sunday in Qatar.
Mizan said other prominent actors, including Mitra Hajjar and Baran Kosari, had also been summoned.
Earlier this month, Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran’s best-known actors remaining in the country, posted an image of herself on social media without the mandatory headscarf.
Alidoosti vowed to stay in her homeland at “any price,” saying she planned to stop working, and would support the families of those killed or arrested in the protest crackdown.
Iranian cinema figures were under pressure even before the start of the protest movement sparked by Amini’s death.
Prize-winning directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Jafar Panahi remain in detention after they were arrested earlier this year.
POLAND-GERMANY RIFT: Warsaw’s response to Berlin over a NATO system that would increase the alliance’s involvement in the war came as Kyiv accused Russia of war crimes Anti-missile systems that Germany offered to send to Poland should instead go to Ukraine, the Polish government said on Thursday, a proposal that is likely a nonstarter for Berlin because it would significantly ratchet up NATO involvement in Ukraine. Poland’s surprising response to Berlin’s offer was welcomed by Ukraine, which is desperate to protect its airspace as barrages of Russian missiles have knocked out power across the country. German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht said that use of NATO defense systems outside its territory needs to be agreed by all member states. “It is important to us that Poland can rely on allies
MONEY-MAKING SCHEME: Some students said they were misled about study or work opportunities, or were not told that they were coming to a self-proclaimed republic Foreign students are big business in northern Cyprus, a tiny, breakaway statelet only recognized by Turkey, but some warn that university recruiters are selling “dreams” in the internationally and economically isolated territory. One Nigerian student, who asked to remain anonymous, said he expected to arrive in the country whose soccer teams compete in European tournaments. Instead, when he saw the currency was the embattled Turkish lira, he realized this was “not the Cyprus I thought it was.” The Mediterranean island is divided between the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus and a northern statelet established after Turkey launched a 1974 invasion in
COUNTERING CHINA: The vice president said on the island of Palawan that the US supports the Philippines ‘in the face of intimidation ... in the South China Sea’ US Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday visited a Philippine island near waters claimed by Taiwan and China to show support for the longtime US ally and counter Beijing’s growing influence in the region. Harris is the highest-ranking US official ever to visit the western island of Palawan, the closest Philippine landmass to the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) in the hotly contested South China Sea. Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire sea and has ignored an international court ruling that its claims have no legal basis. Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have overlapping claims to parts of
CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT: The prosecution had shelved sedition charges against the six in exchange for the defendants pleading guilty to ‘conspiring’ with Jimmy Lai Six former employees of a now-defunct Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper yesterday pleaded guilty to a collusion charge under the National Security Law that has silenced and jailed most opposition voices in the southern Chinese territory. The staff members of the Apple Daily were arrested last year during a crackdown on dissent after Beijing imposed the sweeping security law in response to the widespread anti-government protests in 2019. They were charged with conspiracy to commit collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security. The six have been in pre-trial custody for almost a year-and-a-half. The law criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion