Fartashphoto's Blog

Zero tolerance

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on October 1, 2010

Iran will have zero tolerance for filmmakers who support the country’s political opposition, Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini said Thursday.

“Anybody who avails himself of its (cultural) syndicate cover for making political activities and undermining values of the establishment are not tolerated and harshly condemned,” Hosseini said during a press conference in Tehran.

Since President Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, and especially since his disputed re-election last year, cultural and press freedoms in the country have been limited.

The perceived curtailment of artistic freedoms has pushed many Iranian filmmakers to emigrate or change professions.

Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamqadri, who is also in charge of the cinema department, said last month that making critical films would be “worse than espionage.” He accused some Iranian filmmakers of “cultural betrayal” for exposing “the dark sides of Iran.”

Under an executive order signed this week by Barack Obama, the State and Treasury departments jointly announced the sanctions that target Iranians who “share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran,” notably after last year’s disputed presidential elections. It is the first time the US has imposed sanctions on Iranians for violating human rights, according to Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State.

“On these officials’ watch or under their command, Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed and killed,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Yet the Iranian government has ignored repeated calls from the international community to end these abuses.”

Clinton said that despite President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent claims that human rights were respected and protected in Iran, the situation has worsened since the elections. She noted that this week alone, two reformist political parties and two newspapers were shut down.

“The steady deterioration in human rights conditions in Iran has obliged the United States to speak out time and time again,” Clinton said.

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