Taraneh Alidoosti, Iranian star of Oscar-winning The Salesman, arrested for pro-protester post

Iranian authorities arrested one of the country's most famous actors on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that grip the country, state media said Saturday.

Iran state media say other celebrities detained for 'publishing provocative content'

An actor in a headscarf poses during a photo call.
Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti, who starred in the film The Salesman, is shown at the Cannes film festival, in southern France, in May 2016. (Joel Ryan/The Associated Press)

Iranian authorities arrested one of the country's most famous actors on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that grip the country, state media said Saturday.

The report by IRNA said Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning movie The Salesman, was detained a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the nationwide protests.

IRNA also said several other Iranian celebrities had "been summoned by the judiciary body over publishing provocative content." It did not say how many or provide further details.

According to the report published on the state media's official Telegram channel, Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide "any documents in line with her claims."

In her post, the 38-year-old actor said: "His name was Mohsen Shekari. Every international organization who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity."

A person holds a phone displaying text and a photo of a protester.
A person in the Cypriot capital Nicosia holds a phone displaying a tweet about the hanging by Iranian authorities of Mohsen Shekari. (AFP/Getty Images)

Shekari was executed on Dec. 9 after being charged by an Iranian court with blocking a street in Tehran and attacking a member of the country's security forces with a machete.

Last Week, Iran executed a second prisoner, Majidreza Rahnavard, in connection with the protests. Rahnavard's body was left hanging from a construction crane as a gruesome warning to others. Iranian authorities alleged Rahnavard stabbed two members of its paramilitary force.

Both men were executed less than a month after they were charged, underscoring the speed at which Iran now carries out death sentences imposed for alleged crimes related to the demonstrations. Activists say at least a dozen people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings.

Alidoosti has made at least three posts on her Instagram account expressing solidarity with protesters since the demonstrations broke out in September. Her account, which had some eight million followers, has been suspended.

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Iran has been rocked by protests since the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by the morality police, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly. The protests have since morphed into one of the most serious challenges to Iran's theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Alidoosti has previously criticized the Iranian government and its police force.

In June 2020, she was given a suspended five-month prison sentence after she criticized the police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her headscarf.

Protesters and vehicles crowd a street as a fire burns in the background.
Protesters take to the streets of Tehran on Sept. 21. (AFP/Getty Images)

Other movies Alidoosti has starred in include The Beautiful City and About Elly.

Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, two other famous actors in Iran, were arrested by authorities for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. Both women have been released.

At least 495 people have been killed in the demonstrations amid a harsh security crackdown, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been monitoring the protests since they began. More than 18,200 people have been detained by authorities.