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2001-11-06

Iranian Filmmaker Faces Execution

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Almost daily, Iranian officials offer conflicting pronouncements about whether the country should deal directly withAmericans in their war on terrorism, confine such discussions to the United Nations or keep its back turned on theU.S. Some reformists among Iran’s leaders see this an opportunity to heal the rift between the two countries createdwhen the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was seized in 1979. Iran’s conservative clerics, however, who maintain control overthe armed forces, the judiciary and the media, blasted the idea of U.S.-Iran talks. Iranian lawmakers have formed aspecial commission to consider engaging in talks with the U.S. Iranian President Ayatollah Khamenei has quashed anynotion of dealing with the United States, which he described as pursuing "illegitimate interests in Afghanistan."Iran’s foreign minister said the UN should exclude the US and Afghanistan’s neighbors from any post-Talibanpeacekeeping mission or risk even greater instability in central Asia.

Inside Iran, feminist Iranian filmmaker Tahmineh Milani will face execution if she is convicted in an upcoming trialin Tehran. Milani was arrested on the orders of Iran’s Revolutionary Council as she was promoting the film "TheHidden Half," which she wrote and directed. She was released on bail earlier this fall. Tahmineh Milani is one ofIran’s best-known filmmakers, and is especially well-known for taking strong feminist positions. She has been chargedwith supporting factions waging war against God, and misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armedopposition groups. "The Hidden Half" depicts internal struggle within Iran soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Milani is not the first cultural figure to be arrested by the conservative Revolutionary Council (headed by supremeleader Ayatollah Khameini), but her case has proved to be exceptional. Like all domestically produced Iranian films,"The Hidden Half" went through intense censorship processes. In contrast to other controversial films, "The HiddenHalf" had been through the censorship process and was officially granted a release from the Ministry of Culture.

Guest:

  • Ray Privett, Facets Multimedia, leading the media campaign to support Milani.

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