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Dissident Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Reportedly Leaves Iran for First Time in 14 Years


The long travel ban against dissident Iranian director Jafar Panahi, which had been in force for 14 years, has apparently been lifted.

Panahi’s wife Tahereh Saeedi said in an Instagram post late Tuesday evening that the Iranian government has “cancelled” the travel ban first imposed in 2009. Accompanying the message was a message from Saeedi and Panahi arriving at an unknown airport.

“After 14 years, Jafar’s ban was lifted and we’re finally going to travel together for a few days…” she wrote.

The picture shows Panahi smiling, waving and pushing a luggage cart piled high with three large suitcases. There is no information on where the photo was taken, although online speculation has pointed to signage in the background suggesting it could be at a French airport.

The award-winning director of Cab, The white balloon, The circleAnd No bears is perhaps the most prominent dissident director in Iran.

After attending the funeral of a student shot dead during a protest, he was banned from entering the country by the Tehran regime. In 2010, he was found guilty of producing “propaganda” against the Islamic Republic and received a six-year suspended prison sentence and a 20-year ban on making films. However, the director continued to make films in secret, smuggling his work out to appear at international festivals. his last, No bearsscreened last year in Venice, where it won the Special Jury Prize.

Panahi was only recently released from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison after months of imprisonment and after a hunger strike. He was arrested last July after he went to inquire about the arrest of fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, who had been dragged into a government crackdown on the artists and political activists.

Shortly after his arrest, the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody — she had been detained for allegedly violating Iran’s strict hijab laws — sparked nationwide demonstrations that attracted global attention and sparked an even more violent backlash from authorities.

Panahi protested his detention, arguing that the statute of limitations on his original sentence had expired and he should be released until his original case could be appealed. Iran’s Supreme Court agreed, but no action was taken. Jafar remained in prison until his hunger strike prompted the authorities to take action and release him.

Panahi’s imprisonment had attracted the attention of international film festivals and activists as it shed light on the repression of the national film industry and ongoing demonstrations for women’s rights in Iran.

The Hollywood Reporter seeks independent confirmation of the lifting of Panahi’s travel ban.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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