Iran release top actress who supported hijab anti-government protests

Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti after her release from prison in Tehran (REUTERS)
Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti after her release from prison in Tehran (REUTERS)

Iran has released top Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti weeks after she was detained for criticising a crackdown on anti-government protests.

Best known for her role in Academy Award-winning film The Salesman, the pro-reform actor was released on bail on Wednesday, state media reported.

Alidoosti had supported the protests, including by posting her picture on Instagram in November without the compulsory hijab head covering, and holding up a sign which read “Woman, Life, Freedom” in Kurdish, a popular slogan in the mass protests.

ILNA news agency, citing her lawyer, said “Alidoosti, who was arrested on December 17, was released today on bail”, without giving further details.

Her picture, taken in front of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, was widely shared on social media.

Photographs show Alidoosti outside the prison holding flowers as she was greeted by friends following her arrest.

Taraneh Alidoosti among friends outside prison (REUTERS)
Taraneh Alidoosti among friends outside prison (REUTERS)

The protests, sparked by the death of a young Kurdish woman while in the custody of the morality police, have posed one of the biggest challenges to the Shi’ite Muslim-ruled Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Since Amini’s death, protesters have taken to the streets for months, calling for the downfall of the country’s clerical rulers, with women taking off and burning their headscarves across the country.

Dozens of female Iranian actresses and artists have posted pictures of themselves without the compulsory hijab, in solidarity with the demonstrations in which women have played a leading role.

Iran’s clerical rulers have accused a coalition of “anarchists, terrorists and foreign foes” of orchestrating the protests.

The Islamic Republic has so far executed two people involved in mass protests.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights group has said that at least 100 detained protesters face possible death sentences.