TEHRAN, IRAN – Iran freed a top actress Taraneh Alidoosti who was arrested last month after she expressed solidarity with anti-government protesters.
According to state media, Alidoosti’s release came after she spent nearly three weeks in detention.
Taraneh Alidoosti, a 38-year-old actress, was detained on December 18 after urging Iranians to support the anti-government demonstrations, making one of the most prominent targets in Iran’s campaign against athletes, rappers, directors, actors, and other celebrities who have shown support for the protesters.
The star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning 2016 film “The Salesman,” Ms. Alidoosti, was reportedly released on bond on Wednesday, according to Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency.
Later, images appeared to show Ms. Alidoosti outside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where Iran frequently imprisons notable dissidents, intellectuals, writers, and political opponents. These images spread on social media. She carried a bouquet of flowers and had her hair loosely wrapped in a scarf.
After the death in detention of Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been detained by Iran’s morality police on suspicion of breaking the legislation requiring women to cover their heads and wear modest clothing, protests began to spread across the country in mid-September. Although the protests first aimed to repeal the hijab law, they swiftly expanded to call for the overthrow of Iran’s whole political system.
Ms. Alidoosti rose to prominence as one of the most well-known voices supporting the rallies and criticising the savage response as the government retaliated with gunfire and beatings, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.
After learning that Mohsen Shekari, 23, one of the two protesters Iran has executed thus far, would be hanged, Ms. Alidoosti posted on her social media accounts in December, saying that remaining silent meant supporting injustice and its perpetrators.
State news organisations interpreted her writings as “unsubstantiated comments about current events” and “the release of inflammatory material” when reporting on her arrest. The judiciary claimed in a statement that it had summoned a number of famous people, including Ms. Alidoosti, for posting allegations it claimed were unsupported regarding what the government refers to as the “riots,” but that she was arrested because she had not provided any supporting documentation.
After Iran freed a top actress, the regime has maintained its defiance in the face of international criticism by accusing other nations of orchestrating the demonstrations. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, claimed that Westerners were “hypocritical” for condemning the status of women in Islam while oppressing women in their own nations at a meeting with hundreds of Iranian women on Wednesday.