Iranian authorities arrested two film directors and a prominent reformist activist for “inciting unrest” following the deadly collapse of a building in the country’s southwest in May, state media reported Friday.
Award-winning filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof and his colleague Mostafa Aleahmad were arrested over events apparently relating to the building collapse, state news agency IRNA reported.
“In the midst of the heart-breaking incident in Abadan’s Metropol, (the filmmakers) were involved in inciting unrest and disrupting the psychological security of society,” IRNA said.
Separately, activist Mostafa Tajzadeh, an outspoken government critic, was detained following tweets laying responsibility on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers fail.
Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi is facing public discontent with soaring food prices and the collapse of the 10-story Metropol building in May, leaving 43 people dead and sparking protests in recent months.
Demonstrators demanded that those “incompetent officials” responsible for the tragedy be prosecuted and punished, while many faced tear gas, warning shots, and arrests by the police.
A group of Iranian filmmakers led by Rasoulof published an open letter calling on the security forces to “lay down their arms” in the face of outrage over the “corruption, theft, inefficiency, and repression” surrounding the Abadan collapse.
Rasoulof won the Golden Bear – the Berlin film festival’s top prize – in 2020 for his film “There Is No Evil,” but was unable to accept the prize in person as he was barred from leaving Iran.