Local reports stated that Iran released a prominent actress from an Oscar-winning film on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after she had been imprisoned for criticizing a crackdown on anti-government protests.
Taraneh Alidoosti, the 38-year-old star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning 2016 film “The Salesman,” was said to have been released on bail, according to Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency. In a previous Instagram post, her mother, Nadere Hakimelahi, stated that she would be released.
Alidoosti posed with bouquets of flowers in the company of friends on Wednesday, following her release from the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. Her case has received no further information.
Alidoosti was one of a number of famous Iranians who supported the nationwide protests and criticized the violent crackdown on dissent by the government. Prior to her account being disabled, she had posted at least three messages on Instagram supporting the protests.
The protests, which were sparked by the death of a woman in police custody and have grown into widespread calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics, were sparked by the death of a woman in custody. One message expressed solidarity with the first man to be executed on charges related to the protests.
One of the greatest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment following the 1979 Islamic Revolution is represented by the protests. Rights groups claim that batons, tear gas, live ammunition, birdshot, and live ammunition have been used by security personnel to disperse protesters.
After being accused by an Iranian court of blocking a street in Tehran and attacking a member of the country’s security forces with a machete, Mohsen Shekari was put to death on December 9. Majidreza Rahnavard, a second prisoner, was hanged in public by Iran a week later. He was alleged to have stabbed two members of the Basij militia, a paramilitary group that is leading the crackdown.
According to activists, closed-door hearings have resulted in the death sentences of at least a dozen individuals for protest-related charges.
Before her arrest, Alidoosti wrote, “His name was Mohsen Shekari” on an account with approximately 8 million followers. It is a disgrace to humanity for any international organization to watch this bloodshed and not take action.”
The Iranian reports on Alidoosti’s release did not specify whether she will face trial or whether she has been charged with anything. Additionally, it was unknown if she would be subject to travel restrictions as part of the terms of her release.
Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely followed the unrest, claim that at least 516 protesters have been killed and over 19,000 people have been arrested. An official count of those killed or detained has not been provided by Iranian authorities.
In November, two more well-known Iranian actresses, Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, were detained for expressing solidarity with protesters via social media. That same month, Iranian soccer star Voria Ghafouri was also detained for “insulting the national soccer team and propagandizing against the government.” They have all been made available.
When 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code, the protests began in the middle of September. Amini later passed away. Women have taken the lead in the protests, and many of them have stripped off the mandatory Islamic headscarf, or hijab, in public.
After decades of political and social repression, the protesters claim to be fed up. “Death to the dictator,” referring to Iran’s 83-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has held the country’s highest office for more than three decades, has been one of the most popular slogans.
Iranian officials attribute the protests to the United States and other nations. While authorities have severely restricted coverage of the demonstrations, including periodically cutting off internet access, state-linked media have focused on attacks on security forces.
In a meeting with women on Wednesday, Khamenei, who has not said much about the protests, talked about Islamic dress. He said that the hijab is necessary, but people who don’t “completely observe” it “should not be accused of being non-religious or against the revolution.”
Many Iranian women wore the headscarf loosely before the protests, and authorities sometimes eased up on enforcing it, especially during Hassan Rouhani’s presidency, which lasted from 2013 to 2021. Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, his successor, had moved to tighten the restrictions.
Before the protests this year, Alidoosti had previously criticized the Iranian government and its police.
After she criticized the police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her headscarf, she was given a suspended five-month prison sentence in June 2020.
She portrayed a woman whose marriage to her husband is shattered when she is sexually assaulted in their apartment in “The Salesman.” The woman and her husband are cast as the main characters in a local production of Arthur Miller’s classic play “Death of a Salesman” as the story unfolds.
“About Elly” and “The Beautiful City” are two other well-known films that Alidoosti has starred in.