A well-known Iranian actress posted a photo of herself on Instagram without a headscarf to express her support for the nationwide anti-government protests.
Taraneh Alidoosti, best known for her role in the 2016 Oscar-winning film The Salesman, holds up a sign in the photo that reads “Woman, life, freedom” in Kurdish – a popular slogan in the protests.
This decision marks another sign that the protest movement in Iran is gaining support from all sections of society.
Nationwide protests took place following the death of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September, after being detained for alleged violations of the country’s strict dress code.
Ms Alidoosti, who is not Kurdish, wrote a poem to accompany the Instagram photo.
She writes, “Your last absence, the songbird migration, is not the end of this rebellion.”
The 38-year-old pro-reform artist has posted a number of Instagram posts condemning the clerical establishment in the past.
At least five Iranian actresses have shared photos of themselves online without the compulsory hijab in solidarity with women protesting across the country.
The city of Zahedan, located in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan on the Gulf of Oman, has seen the deadliest violence to date during weeks of protests.
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Iranian officials, who blamed Ms Amini’s death on pre-existing medical conditions, say the unrest was fueled by foreign enemies, including the United States, and accused armed separatists of carrying out the violence.
The country has a theocratic government, which means that its systems of government are based on religious laws and precepts.
The protests have become the biggest threat to the Iranian government since the Green Movement protests of 2009. International pressure is also being brought to bear on the government, over its treatment of protesters.
The rallies have evolved from a focus on women’s rights and the state-imposed headscarf, to calls to oust Shia clerics who have ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.