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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Iranian film director 'arrested'
Scene from a film by Iranian female director Rakhsan Bani Etemad
Women film directors have put Iranian cinema on the world map
By BBC Tehran correspondent Jim Muir

One of Iran's leading film directors, Tahmineh Milani, is reported to have been arrested in Tehran.

There has been no statement from the Iranian judiciary to explain the reported detention, the latest in a long series of moves against liberal intellectuals by the hard line judiciary.

According to film industry sources in Tehran, Mrs Milani was summoned by a Revolutionary Court in the capital on Monday.

It ordered her detention and transfer to prison.

New reformist paper
A newspaper interview may have led to Milani's arrest

She has been held since then and her husband is reported to have seen her for just a few minutes.

Tahmineh Milani, who has strong feminist and political beliefs is one of the best known figures in the Iranian film world.

She both writes and directs her own movies.

Her most celebrated work is probably the film, Two Women, which won acclaim both internationally and locally when it came out two years ago.

Her latest, The Hidden Half, is currently playing in Tehran, though Mrs Milani publicly criticised the state-run television for refusing to run trailers for it.

Leftwing struggle

Mrs Milani's reported arrest came a day after a reformist newspaper carried a lengthy interview with her about the new film and the period it covers.

It focuses on left-wing student groups which were active in the struggle against the Shah's regime, but were suppressed by Islamic factions after the revolution in 1979.

Mrs Milani said that everything in the film was true.

Three women walking in Iranian city
Hidden half: Milani has strong feminist views
At least 10 of her friends from the time had been executed, she said, while others had been given long jail sentences and many more had been driven out of the universities.

Tahmineh Milani is the latest in a long series of liberal figures to be arrested over the past 18 months.

The arrests are being seen as an attempt by the hardline judiciary to stem the advance of reform and repel what it sees as a cultural invasion aimed at undermining the foundations of the Islamic republic.

The BBC's Jim Muir reports from Teheran
"She is the latest in a long series of liberal figures to be arrested"
See also:

29 Jul 01 | Middle East
New floggings in Iran
16 Jul 01 | Middle East
Iran reformist jailed for six years
12 Jul 01 | Middle East
Iranian adulteress stoned to death
20 Dec 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
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