Filmmakers, opponents and Christians, victims of Tehran's repression
Arrested for conspiracy Mostafa Tajzadeh, prominent reformist and deputy interior minister under Khatami. He had criticised the tightening of (Islamic) dress codes for women. film directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alahmad jailed for 'fuelling unrest'. Civil rights of a Christian convert taken away for five years.
Tehran (AsiaNews) - Iranian authorities have unleashed a new clampdown on dissent and critical voices in the country, from opponents to activists and intellectuals who, in recent weeks, had joined a popular protest campaign. Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent reformist politician and critical voice of the ayatollahs' regime, was arrested on charges of conspiring against the state apparatus and security. He must also answer for the crime of 'publishing false information aimed at distracting public opinion'.
A former deputy interior minister under former President Mohammad Khatami (who led the Islamic Republic from 1997 to 2005), he has already spent seven years in jail between 2009 and 2016. In the course of his political activities, Tajzadeh has been unsparingly critical of the Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, current President Ebrahim Raisi and the clerical establishment. At the same time, the leader has been a tireless advocate of the ongoing campaign for democratic change in Iran. A few hours before his arrest, he posted a message on Twitter in which he criticised the tightening of dress codes in compliance with the rules of the Islamic faith for women.
For two different protests, two prominent directors were also jailed: Mohammad Rasoulof, whose works have won numerous awards at the Cannes and Berlin festivals, and Mostafa Alahmad. Both face charges of 'fuelling unrest'. Both are part of a group of film directors and actors who launched a protest after the collapse of a 10-storey building in the city of Abadan last May in which more than 40 people died. In their open letter they addressed the security forces, calling on them to lay down their arms and not to repress legitimate demonstrations of dissent, triggered by the collapse of the Metropol office block.
Meanwhile, the axe of repression continues to fall on the Christian community and, in particular, among the newly converted Protestants. Rahmat Rostamipour, a 49-year-old convert from Islam, has been "deprived of his civil rights" for the next five years for having promoted "educational activities contrary to the holy religion of Islam, setting up house churches".
According to Article18 reports, he will also have to pay 6 million tomans (a little over 180 euro, equivalent to one month's salary) now and another 18 million in the case of 'reiteration' of the offence over the next two years, during which time his activities will be supervised. The sentence was imposed under the infamous amended Article 500 of the Penal Code, which allows the indictment of activities or behaviour deemed 'contrary' to the Muslim faith.