Mother of renowned Kurdish filmmaker not allowed to leave Iran

Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi on Sunday claimed his mother was prevented from leaving Iran and arrested.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Renowned Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi on Sunday claimed his mother was prevented from leaving Iran and arrested at the Imam Khomeini International Airport.

The filmmaker made the claim on his Instagram and Facebook accounts. In his posts, he claimed the Iranian government “did not let my exhausted mom leave,” so she could visit him.

“I wanted to meet her after a long time,” Ghobadi, the exiled film director wrote on his Instagram on Sunday. “Shame on you.”

Iranian authorities have not responded to Ghobadi’s statement.

The filmmaker’s mother was reportedly arrested on Sunday at the airport and then released. Authorities confiscated her passport and allegedly told her she should go to the revolutionary court.

“She has to be under the care and control of a doctor now, but instead, she is getting ready for tomorrow’s court!” Ghobadi added in his social media posts.

Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi. (Photo: Social Media)
Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi. (Photo: Social Media)

Ghobadi escaped Iran in 2009 after Iranian intelligence agents repeatedly threatened him and urged him to leave.

Authorities in Iran were angered by his semi-documentary “No One Knows About Persian Cats” (2009), a film about the underground indie music scene in Tehran. They have also accused Ghobadi of promoting separatism in his films.

Sunday’s incident is not the first time Ghobadi’s relatives or close friends have experienced problems with Iranian authorities.

In 2013, Ghobadi’s brother Behrouz was released from prison in Iran following an international campaign.

Journalist Roxana Saberi, who co-wrote Ghobadi’s 2009 film “No One Knows About Persian Cats” was also held for 101 days under accusations of espionage in 2009, and then freed.

The filmmaker was born in 1969 in Baneh, Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat), near the Iran-Iraq border. 

Ghobadi’s films “A Time for Drunken Horses” (2000), “Turtles Can Fly” (2004), “Marooned in Iraq” (2002), and “Half Moon” (2006) have won numerous prizes at film festivals. Several of his films, however, are banned in Iran.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany