Iran continues to be gripped by nationwide protests against the Islamic regime, sparked by deaths, in September 22, 22 Mahsa Amini passed away at the age of After being arrested by Iran’s ethics police, he was detained by police on suspicion of violating Iran’s strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a headscarf.
Protests are the largest and longest in Iran since 2017 civil unrest and is seen by many as a real threat to the future of Iran’s Islamic rulers.
While Amini’s death was the trigger for the current wave of demonstrations, unrest has been brewing in Iran all summer, and the police response has been brutal. In July, authorities jailed two Iranian directors, Mohamad Rasoulof and Mostafa al-Ahmad, for expressing their opposition to the government’s violent crackdown on social media. In response, Jafar Panahi , the award-winning director of Taxi , 3 Faces and The Circle, arguably the most outstanding dissident artist nation, when He was detained when he visited the Tehran prosecutor’s office to question Rasolov and Ahmed. He was then thrown into prison , which authorities claim he must serve six years in relation to the sentence handed down ten years ago to be enforced.
Since Panahi’s arrest, Iranian dissidents try to mobilize international entertainment industry to support protesters And pressure the regime in Iran to release Panahi and others. At this year’s Venice Film Festival, organizers and filmmakers held the red carpet ahead of the world premiere of Panahi’s new film No Bears protest, calling for his release. Panahi also sent 1235233758 a letter to the festival from his cell, thanking the international community for “making noise” support Iranian filmmaker, but warned government crackdown “is not over”.
Earlier this month, over 1, Professionals from the French film industry signed an open letter to “loudly and unequivocally support the protesters”. During public demonstrations, some actresses, including stars Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard and Isabelle Huppert, released their video cutting their hair as part of #HairForFreedom, which was a huge hit Instagram video campaign in support of protesters.
The fate of Panahi and others arrested by the Iranian regime remains uncertain as demonstrations and the government’s response to them become increasingly violent and violent.
In an exclusive interview via email, The Hollywood Reporter interviews Jafar Pasha Nahi’s son Pana Panahi also asked about his father, the status of the protests and what the support of the international film industry meant for those fighting the regime.
Are you in touch with your father? How is he doing in prison?
Yes, we are contacting him. Jafar is in the public sector, calls every day, and we meet him in person once a week. …he made many friends in prison; they were all honest and forthright fellow Iranians, including doctors, engineers, writers, directors, and poets, as well as top-ranking college recruits and environmental activists. By and large, anyone who cares about Iran is in jail. … The good thing about Jafar being in jail is that now he’s forced to exercise and read more to pass the time.
What do the authorities say about why they imprisoned him?
You may find it strange, but we ourselves don’t know why Jafar is in jail. His judgment was “collusion against the regime”. This means activity against the regime. This is a common belief among all political, environmental and other prisoners.
What does the government hope to get out of his imprisonment?
You are talking about the government, but we are talking about the regime of the Islamic Republic. This is because no matter which government takes over, in the end, the policies of [Supreme Religious Leader] Syed Ali Hosseini Khamenei and his regime are what matter. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the government, even though Ibrahim Resi’s government is one of the most sluggish and corrupt we’ve ever seen. Consider the fact that our president has only a sixth grade education. What can you get from him?
They wanted to silence other artists by imprisoning Jafar. By and large, the regime seeks to incarcerate thought leaders focused on Iran and protests from all spheres to serve as an example for others to shut up. It’s that simple, like all other totalitarian governments. They were completely unresponsive. Because the response is not part of the makeup of this regime. They just refer to the judge’s statement and say it’s a verdict and we have to respect it. They are uneducated people who have come to power, stick to their posts and won’t let go. Avoidance is in their nature.
What was his response to being imprisoned – did it change/strengthen his position regarding the Iranian regime?
Jafar’s position cannot be changed by an individual. Jafar is like a sociologist, he understands his people and their pain, seeing the injustices they experience, he turns these into his concerns, and he reflects those concerns in his work. All Jafar said was a call for basic human rights and rejection of the tyranny imposed on society by ignorance.
Not only has his position not changed, but he has become stronger and firmer, and his voice has become wider. Except for those within the [Iranian] entertainment industry, who did not support him for fear of retaliation by the regime.
What are you doing to secure his release?
We have hired a lawyer and we have filed two appeals so far. But the judgment has not changed; we have no other legal avenues available.
How do you assess your chances of securing his release?
is simply unpredictable; evaluating such a thing in a government where logic doesn’t work is indeterminate.
What role do Iranian filmmakers play in the current anti-government protests? Has the reaction been different this time around – it seems that even officially sanctioned directors like Asghar Faradi are speaking out.
This time is definitely different, and there are more artists who support the people. The government’s restrictive policies have put artists in a difficult position. There is no hope for reform, and the only thing the government can do is to put pressure on the people. But if those demonstrations are also suppressed, the next time the opposition will be stronger. Because the more stress people get, the more angry they get until they have nothing to lose.
A few days ago, Khamenei said that protests by artists and athletes are worthless. All he said was this sentence, and he continued on. Khamenei heard the protesters and was forced to talk about it, meaning the protests by filmmakers and athletes have been far more effective than in the past.
We have seen film industries in other countries, including France and the United States, support the protests in Iran. What effect (if any) does this have?
It is too early to discuss and analyze the recent protests. But the most beautiful thing that has come out of it is that the collective intelligence has been created and people are not looking for a leader, but the collective intelligence is leading the protests. The government has always blamed the protests on the United States and Israel and their so-called proxies in Iran. It can’t do that anymore because even its few supporters don’t accept it anymore. Instead of following one or more specific people, everyone can see this collective intelligence. The motto chanted by the Iranian people is: “Women, Life, Freedom”. This has nothing to do with any political or partisan line. This is a requirement for basic human rights.
The support of world-renowned celebrities and artists certainly has a great impact on raising awareness, the more awareness raised, the louder the voices and the greater the unity of the people. This is what scares totalitarian governments.
We have seen anti-government protests in Iran before. How optimistic are you that this protest will have a lasting impact on changing the situation in Iran?
These protests did not happen overnight. I saw protests at 2017, 2017, 2017 and 2017, and I can See how protests have evolved; mottos and slogans become more forceful each time people are less afraid. These slogans are not directed at the regime itself. We can clearly see this evolution.
Interview translated from Persian and edited for length and comprehension.