Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who was at the Cannes Film Festival this year with Competition Title Leila’s Brothers, has posted an image of herself on social media without her headscarf in support of ongoing protests in Iran calling more freedom of women.
Her defiant removal of her headscarf, which is obligatory in public settings for women under Iran’s Sharia Law, comes as widespread anti-government protests sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old, Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on September 16 enter their third month in Iran.
Posing with her long hair hanging loose, Alidoosti held up a sign carrying the slogan of the protest “Woman. Life. Freedom.” in the Kurdish language, even though she herself does not have Kurdish roots.
Her Instagram post was accompanied by a poem that read: “Your last absence, like the migration of singing birds, doesn’t mark the end of this rebellion.”
Alidoosti is one of Iran’s best-known actresses. Her defiant act is seen as being particularly courageous because she is still living in Iran.
A number of high-profile artists have already been imprisoned for acts of dissent, both before and after the protests began.
Well-known figures from Iran’s arts and entertainment currently in detention include filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, singer Singer Shervin Hajipour, and Kurdish, Tehran-based rapper Saman Yasin, who could face the death penalty after being found guilty of “enmity against God” in a court hearing at the end of October.
In a post earlier this week, Alidoosti signalled she was in Iran and had no plans to leave her native country, preferring instead to back the fight for freedom and equal rights for women.
“I do not have a passport or residence anywhere except Iran. I’ll stay and look you straight in the eyes like all these normal people when I scream for my rights,” she wrote.
“I’ve inherited this courage from the women of my land, who for years have been living their lives, every day with resistance… I will stay, I will not quit, I will stand with the families of the prisoners and murdered and demand their rights. I will fight for my home, I will pay whatever it takes to stand up for my rights, and most importantly: I believe in what we are building together today.”
Earlier in the protests, a Tehran region governor warned that action would be taken against celebrities who publicly show support for anti-government protests, while ealier this week the Iranian parliament voted in favor of the death penalty for people arrested while involved in the protests.
At least 1,000 people are believed to have been detained by the Iranian authorities since the beginning of the protests, while more than 200 people, including teenagers, have been killed by the country’s security forces as they try to rein in demonstrations.