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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Patrick Wintour

Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti released from jail after family post bail

An image obtained from social media shows Taraneh Alidoosti posing with her hair uncovered to express support for anti-government protests in Iran.
An image obtained from social media shows Taraneh Alidoosti posing with her hair uncovered to express support for anti-government protests in Iran. Photograph: Taraneh Alidoosti/Instagram/Reuters

The celebrated Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti has been released from prison by the authorities after her friends and family provided bail. Pictures of her outside jail with campaigners holding flowers and without a hijab were shown on Iranian social media.

She had been arrested for issuing statements of support for the women’s movement in Iran, including by posing on Instagram without a hijab, the compulsory hair covering in the country.

About 600 international film stars writers and actors voiced their objection to Alidoosti’s arrest, a level of support unprecedented for any of the 10,000-plus Iranians arrested since the protests began three months ago.

Alidoosti, an Oscar-winning star of Iranian cinema, was arrested in her Tehran home on 17 December as part of an effort to intimidate celebrities who have used their status to voice support for the protests sparked by the death in custody in September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman. Since then more than 500 Iranians have died.

Alidoosti’s mother, Nadereh Hakim-Elahi, announced the news of her daughter’s release via Instagram on Wednesday morning. The actor’s attorney, Zahra Minooei, also shared the news on Twitter. In the post, Minooei said: “Today, my client Ms Taraneh Alidoosti will be released from Evin prison after posting bail.”

It has been reported that bail was set at approximately 1bn Iranian rial (£20,000).

Government-backed media in Iran said Alidoosti had been arrested for “failing to provide proof for some of her statements” that criticised the use of the death penalty.

The Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi, who directed Alidoosti in The Salesman, called for her release while the Cannes film festival expressed its support for the actor on its social media accounts

Meanwhile, a British plan to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Council (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation is causing difficulties for the German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, who is due to meet her British counterpart, James Cleverly, in London on Thursday for bilateral talks.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that the UK Home Office has concluded that the IRGC should be added to the proscribed list of terrorist organisations even though the branch is already a sanctioned entity.

In Germany, Baerbock is under pressure to follow the UK’s example from Norberrt Röttgen, the influential Christian Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson, as well as the Iranian diaspora community.

Röttgen said on Tuesday: “Britain took the lead in what needed to be done. IRGC should be included in the list of terrorist organisations. In the European Union, all the prerequisites for this action are present. If Mrs Baerbock’s message of solidarity is serious, she should start working and fight for this goal now.”

The German foreign office argues that a “terrorism” listing requires “investigations or a judgment on terrorist offences in a member state of the EU”. But Röttgen claims a designation could equally be based on a “judgment against the Revolutionary Guards for terrorism by an American federal court”. He said the German public was being “deceived”.

Proscription, as opposed to sanctions, is seen as a way of marking a decisive break from the Iranian regime, and almost a sign that the west has no interest in pursuing the stalled talks aimed at reviving the nuclear agreement limiting Iran’s proliferation activities.

At one point, Iran insisted that the US ending the listing of the IRGC as a terrorist grouping was a precondition for reviving the nuclear deal, but since then the focus of dispute between the west and Iran over the nuclear agreement has shifted to the future of the UN inspection regime, as well as the failure of Iran to provide proof it has not carried out illegal nuclear activities at three previously undisclosed sites.

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