Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who was at the Cannes Film Festival this year with Competition title Leila’s brothershas posted an image of herself on social media without her headscarf in support of ongoing protests in Iran calling for greater women’s freedom.
Her defiant removal of her headscarf, which is mandatory in public institutions for women under Iranian sharia law, comes amid widespread anti-government protests sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini. September 16 will enter their third month in Iran.
Alidoosti posed with her long hair down and held up a sign with the protest slogan ‘Woman. To live. Freedom.” in the Kurdish language, even though she herself has no Kurdish roots.
Her Instagram post was accompanied by a poem that read: “Your last absence, like the migration of singing birds, does not mark the end of this rebellion.”
Alidoosti is one of Iran’s most famous actresses. Her act of rebellion is considered particularly brave because she still lives in Iran.
A number of high-profile performers have already been jailed for dissent, both before and after the protests began.
Well-known figures of Iranian arts and entertainment currently in detention include filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, singer Singer Shervin Hajipour and Kurdish Tehran-based rapper Saman Yasin, who faces the death penalty after being killed. was found guilty of “enmity against God” in a court hearing in late October.
In a message earlier this week, Alidoosti indicated that she was in Iran and had no intention of leaving her homeland, but instead support the fight for freedom and equal rights for women.
“I have no passport or residence anywhere except in Iran. I will stay and look you straight in the eye like all these normal people when I scream for my rights,” she wrote.
“I have inherited this courage from the women of my country, who have lived their lives for years, with resistance every day… I will stay, I will not stop, I will stand with the families of the prisoners and be killed and demand their rights. I will fight for my house, I will pay what it takes to stand up for my rights, and most importantly, I believe in what we are building together today.”
Earlier during the protests, a governor of the Tehran region warned that action would be taken against celebrities who publicly support anti-government protests, while earlier this week the Iranian parliament voted in favor of the death penalty for people arrested while involved in the protests.
At least 1,000 people have been detained by Iranian authorities since the protests began, while more than 200 people, including teenagers, have been killed by the country’s security forces as they tried to contain the demonstrations.
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