Oscar-winning Iranian director 'salutes' protesters

AFP , Saturday 19 Nov 2022

Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi on Friday praised the "courage" of Iranian protesters, telling AFP he "salutes" the ongoing calls for political change in his homeland.

Asghar Farhadi
Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi at the Cannes Film Festival in France, 28 May 2022 (File Photo: AFP)


Iran has been gripped by a wave of protests sparked by the death in mid-September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the country's morality police for allegedly breaching the strict dress code for women.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Marrakech International Film Festival, underway in Morocco, the two-time Academy Award winner said he is "following very closely" the events unfolding in his homeland.

"I want to take this opportunity to salute my people, the new generation, the women and men who have taken to the streets and who are trying to take their destiny into their own hands," he said.

The protests have been met by a harsh crackdown, with Oslo-based monitor Iran Human Rights saying 342 people, including 43 children, have so far been killed by security forces.

Iran's authorities have to date condemned five people to death over the demonstrations.

Iran faces an "extremely decisive moment", Farhadi said, and "will no longer be the same country" after the current protest movement.

"The question is, how will these movements and protests end? And will the unity that is necessary among Iranians, for the country to move forward, be maintained?" he said.

The 50-year-old director has won a host of cinema's most prestigious awards, including the 2012 and 2017 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Farhadi had previously voiced his support for the protests, calling in late September for 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 at the time, in a video message on Instagram.

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