The Iranian regime formed a secret committee to persecute celebrities who supported the protests over the death of Mahsa Amini

Repression in Iran (AP)

The Iranian authorities reportedly formed a secret committee in 2022 for punish famous people who supported the protests that erupted in September after the death in custody of Mahsa Aminia young Iranian-Kurdish woman detained in the capital, Tehran, for allegedly wearing her headscarf incorrectly.

Leaked documents obtained by British television network BBC include a letter dated September 22, less than a week after the start of the protests, which the committee sent the names of 141 celebrities to the Ministry of Finance to investigate their tax returns and take unspecified action against them.

The list included the names of the football player Ali Daeithe actress Tarane Alidustiand film directors Asghar Farhadi, Pega Ahangarani, Maniyé Hekmay, Barzu Anjomand and Shahin Samadpurwho positioned themselves in favor of the mobilizations and who are part of the dozens of artists and athletes who have been subjected to economic sanctions, travel bans and even arrests in recent months.

The decisions contained in the letter would have been adopted by the ‘Special Force on Celebrities‘, headed by the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohamad Mehdi Esmaili, target of sanctions by the European Union (EU) for alleged violations of Human Rights.

Iran - Ali Daei, Taraneh Alidoosti, Asghar Farhadi
Ali Daei, Taraneh Alidoosti and Asghar Farhadi are among the celebrities persecuted by the regime

The British chain has detailed that it obtained the documents through an intelligence source in the Middle East and has stressed that they detail coordinated actions by the Iranian authorities to try to prevent famous people from contradicting the official version of events.

Despite the fact that the letter does not include details about the restrictions imposed on these people, one of those affected has detailed that “Instagram ‘influencers’ received threats from the authorities that if they continued to support the protests they would have to pay taxes on all income earned from their activities, which could be a significant number.” In addition, two other people have confirmed that their bank accounts were blocked.

On the other hand, a second document dated September 26, 2022 states that the ‘Special Force on Celebrities’ would have been renamed as ‘Celebrity Committee‘ and become permanent, with responsibilities divided between the ministries of Culture and Intelligence for “artists, singers and media personalities” and Sports and Intelligence for athletes.

This document states that any decision “must be adopted in a way that minimizes costs and maximizes benefits when it comes to controlling the riots and supporting the principles of the regime”, while a third letter, dated November 1, addresses how to treat the case of the footballers of the Iranian team facing the World Cup in Qatar.

Iran players listen to the national anthem ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)
Selection of Iran in the World Cup (AFP) (FADEL SENNA /)

Sources cited by the American television network CNN indicated in November that the Government of Iran would have threatened relatives of the players of the soccer team participating in the Qatar World Cup with imprisoning and torturing them if the soccer players “do not behave well”, after the controversy over refusing to sing the anthem in the opening match against England.

The Iranian authorities have exempted the security forces from any blame for Amini’s death, although they have acknowledged certain excesses during the repression of the protests, which have resulted in nearly 500 deaths, according to balances provided by various non-governmental organizations. .

(With information from Europa Press)

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