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Top Iran Filmmaker Banned from Travel After Backing Protests

Iranian filmmaker Masoud Kimiai is seen in this undated photo.
Iranian filmmaker Masoud Kimiai is seen in this undated photo.

Iranian authorities have imposed a travel ban on leading filmmaker Masoud Kimiai, local media reported Monday, after he expressed support for protests that have gripped the Islamic republic for months.

Iran has seen a wave of demonstrations that erupted after the September 16 death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an ethnic Kurd, following her arrest for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women.

"The filmmaker, who wanted to go to the Netherlands on Sunday evening to participate in the Rotterdam film festival, was banned from leaving the airport," the local Tehran daily Hamshahri said on its website.

In a video on September 22, days after the protests broke out, Kimiai had said he was "standing with the people."

Kimiai, 81, is considered a pioneer of modern Iranian cinema, having gained acclaim with his 1969 film "Qeysar," which was released 10 years before the Islamic revolution.

The filmmaker was due to travel to the Netherlands for the screening of his latest film, "Killing the Traitor," a historical melodrama set in 1950s Iran.

The 2022 film, described as a "sepia-tinted melodrama" on the Rotterdam festival's website, tackles the period when then-Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh nationalized Iran's oil industry.

Mossadegh was ousted in a 1953 coup orchestrated by London and Washington.

Several high-profile Iranian filmmakers and actors have been questioned or arrested by the authorities after expressing support for the wave of protests.

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