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Iran scraps ban after filmmaker Farhadi’s apology ‘Groups must not be involved in political matters’

TEHRAN, Oct 2, (AFP): Iran has scrapped a ban on internationally acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi’s unfinished film after he tendered an apology to the culture ministry, ILNA news agency said on Saturday.
Farhadi was banned from filming his movie “Nader divorces Simi” late last month because of his alleged support to dissident filmmakers, but ILNA said the ban had now been lifted.
“The authorisation to continue making the film by Farhadi has been issued after his apologies and following a speech made by the culture minister on Thursday,” ILNA quoted public relations officer at the ministry Hamid Reza Dibaei as saying. “He can now start filming from Saturday.”

According to Iranian media, Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini had said on the sidelines of a seminar on Thursday that Farhadi “had realised his mistakes.”
“The main issue is not Farhadi or his film... We believe that cultural and artistic groups …must not be involved in political matters,” he said.
On Sept 26, the Shargh newspaper quoted Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari as saying the authorities had revoked the permit for filming “Nader divorces Simin” because of the director’s “inappropriate” comments at a recent Iranian awards ceremony.

Change
At the ceremony Farhadi wished for “change” as he spoke out in favour of actress Golshifteh Farahani and celebrated directors Jafar Panahi, who spent over three months in jail, and Mohsen Makhmalbaf, emigre filmmaker and vocal backer of Iran’s opposition Green Movement.
Farhadi, 37, won the Berlin festival’s best director award last year for his popular drama “About Elly,” the story of a woman who vanishes on a weekend outing with friends, setting off a chain of lies to maintain appearances and traditional social mores in Iran’s conservative Islamic society.
The film’s leading actress Farahani infuriated hardliners in Iran by shedding the mandatory Islamic veil abroad at the premier of her first Hollywood appearance “Body of Lies.”

The 27-year-old actress has lived in self-imposed exile in France since leaving Iran about two years ago. By law, Iranian women must wear the Islamic headscarf in public, even outside Iran.
Iranian authorities jailed Panahi for three months this year over an “unauthorised” film about the post-election unrest which saw a crackdown by authorities on critics and opposition supporters.
Iranian filmmakers must obtain authorisation from the culture ministry before shooting and all artistic productions and books are subject to vetting before release.
Filmmakers, writers and artists in Iran have complained of increased censorship under hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with many of them backing opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi against him in the disputed 2009 election.

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