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Why have five Iranian film critics been arrested?

Kambiz Kahe and four other film critics, were recently arrested in Iran because of having a collection of foreign ( and some R-rated) movies. International Federation of Film Critics, published this news on their web site:

Also, Jonathan Rosenbaum, a best known film critic who writes for Chicago Reader, wrote a note about Kahe and his fellows:

The original note by Mr. Rosenbaum:
Fri, 14 Mar 2003 11:45:51 -0600

For years, I've been appalled at the treatment of all Iranians entering the United States, who get routinely fingerprinted--a process that has only gotten worse since George W. Bush has come into office. It shows the lack of interest and even contempt of some Americans towards other cultures, and it expresses the insane notion that people like Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi and Mohsen Makhmalbaf--and, yes, Forough Farrokhzad, Sedagh Hedayat, and even Rumi, if they were still alive--are all marked as potential terrorists.

But now I've heard that four Iranian film critics who clearly love art--including Mr. Kambiz Kahe, who interviewed me in Tehran when I recently visited there, and was treated with such hospitality and kindness--have been arrested by the Iranian government because of their love of art. I find this hard to fathom. I know that Iran is a country where art and spirituality are revered, and yet evidence of this reverence is now being taken to represent some form of corruption. I'm sad to say that this reminds me of the worst aspects of George W. Bush--xenophobia, intolerance, fear of the unknown, distrust of thought--and I am appalled and disturbed to see it manifested in a country known for its respect for art and thinking and spirituality.

... Payvand News - 3/18/03 ... --

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