Iran celebrities warned against inciting Mahsa Amini protests

AFP , Thursday 29 Sep 2022

Iranian celebrities were warned Thursday against coming out in support of protests that flared across the country over the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

FIle Photo: Iran s forward Sardar Azmoun (R) celebrates his goal during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup quart
FIle Photo: Iran s forward Sardar Azmoun (R) celebrates his goal during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup quarter-final football match between China and Iran at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium Stadium in Abu Dhabi, on January 24, 2019, and Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi (L) at the Cannes Film Festival in France, 28 May 2022. AFP


A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since the 22-year-old died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for reportedly failing to observe the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people -- mostly protesters but also members of the security forces -- and hundreds of arrests.

"We will take action against the celebrities who have fanned the flames of the riots," Tehran provincial governor Mohsen Mansouri said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

A number of Iranian sportsmen as well as actors and filmmakers have put their support behind the movement, asking authorities to listen to the people's demands.

Iran's two-time Oscar winning director Asghar Farhadi on Sunday urged people around the world to "stand in solidarity" with the protesters.

"They are looking for simple yet fundamental rights that the state has denied them for years," Farhadi said, in a video message on Instagram.

At a football match against Senegal in Vienna on Tuesday, the entire Iranian team remained dressed in black during the anthems rather than exposing the national strip.

In an Instagram post, star forward Sardar Azmoun condemned the authorities and appeared to complain of a gag order against the team, before retracting his statement.

Another former prominent player, Ali Karimi, has repeatedly supported the protests and condemned Amini's death on Instagram and Twitter, saying not even holy water could "wash away this disgrace".

Iran's judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei has criticised celebrities over their actions.

"Those who became famous thanks to support from the system have joined the enemy when times were difficult, instead of being with the people," said Ejei.

"All of them should know that they have to pay back the material and spiritual damage caused to the people and the country," he added.

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