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Source: AFP

Oct 19, 2023

Iranians Flock To Funeral Of Famed Filmmaker Mehrjui And His Wife Despite Police Presence

Renowned Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui and his wife, screenwriter Vahideh Mohammadi-Far, were buried on October 18 after dying under mysterious circumstances in a funeral attended by many of the country's most well-known artists with riot police looking on.

The pair were stabbed to death over the weekend at their home about 30 kilometers west of Tehran, Iranian judicial officials said on October 15. Mehrjui, 83, was known as a co-founder of Iran's film new wave in the early 1970s.

Some activists and opposition figures in Iran have drawn parallels between the killings and similar crimes in the past that were ultimately deemed political murders.

As the ceremony progressed in central Tehran, attendees chanted slogans such as "Women, life, freedom" and "Murderers, murderers should be disgraced," highlighting the grief and defiance running through the crowd.

Other raised placards during the ceremony that read, "In exchange, we have security," a thinly veiled critique of the government's recent claims that despite more than a year of nationwide unrest, Iran enjoys a "state of security."

Videos shared with RFE/RL’s Radio Farda captured other slogans such as "Death to the murderer of this crime" and "Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for Iran."

The ceremony also saw Marzieh Borumand, head of the House of Cinema, take the stage and make a controversial statement to the government to "be good to us, and we will fight alongside you against Israel."

The reference to the current war being fought between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip elicited boos from some sections of the audience.

The deaths of Mehrjui and Mohammadi-Far have evoked memories of past political murders in Iran, especially the killing of activists Dariush Foruhar and Parvaneh Eskandari Foruhar in 1998.

Both were ardent critics of Iran's religious leadership and faced consistent surveillance.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

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