Ali Nassirian, a well-known Iranian cinema and theater actor, announced his withdrawal from the Fajr State Film Festival on Sunday.
In a letter published online, Nassirian wrote to the secretariat of the festival, “I am excused from attending due to physical problems, age, and mental complications that have happened to me recently,” VOA Persian Service reported.
In 1982, Iran established the Fajr State Film Festival, to be held each February, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
Nassirian also asked the organizers to remove his name from “any event in this festival.”
In recent days, a number of other Iranian actors have withdrawn from the government event in support of those protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died in police custody after her arrest for allegedly wearing her headscarf improperly.
At least 520 protesters have been killed and 19,400 others arrested in Iran since the protests began, following Amini’s death on September 16, 2022.
Iran has also handed down a number of death sentences and has executed at least four people.
Mani Haghighi wrote in a message this week that he, Haniye Tousli, Farshte Hosseini, Baran Kothari, Nahal Dashti and Amir Hossein Fathi, the actors in the movie “Why Don’t You Cry,” would not attend the film festival.
Haghighi said the inclusion of the film in the government event was beyond their control, and he said the actors were ashamed to see their names as part of the festival.
Since the protests, many other artists have taken a stand against the government.
Majid Emami, the secretary of Iran’s Public Culture Council, reacted to the boycott of the Fajr festival by a group of artists and called it “performances and space creations specific to one class,” adding, “this year’s Fajr film festival will be more popular than previous years.”
The festival is held around the anniversary of the revolution.