The indictments came in the midst of an officially-sanctioned drive to censor and intimidate Iranian filmmakers, linked to the now widely-circulated “put down your guns” open letter: a call to security forces to stand with protesters in Abadan that was signed by some 170 industry professionals and other activists in Iran.
In the aftermath, both government officials and regime-aligned media outlets attacked the signatories. Several of them have since been arrested. They include Mostafa Tajzadeh, six of the “Mothers for Justice”, decorated directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, and Mostafa Aleahmad, a noted documentary filmmaker.
On August 16, Mohammad Khazaee, head of the Iranian Cinema Organization, which works under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, said he would shortly be naming a series of filmmakers and industry figures who were subject to new bans from working in Iran.
Several filmmakers and stars who attended Cannes this year are understood to have been summoned and interrogated over their recent work, while others have been threatened with four-year travel bans.
And on August 18, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi issued a warning to individuals whom he called “seditionists” who “publish internal statements”, telling them their efforts "will not go anywhere and are doomed to failure".