Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti posts picture without wearing headscarf in support of protests

Mahabad,Iran, 271022

A well-known Iranian actress has posted a picture of herself on Instagram without a headscarf to express support for nationwide anti-government demonstrations.

Taraneh Alidoosti, best known for her role in the Oscar-winning 2016 film The Salesman, holds up a sign in the photo which reads “Woman, Life, Freedom” in Kurdish – a popular slogan in the demonstrations.

The move marks another sign that the protest movement in Iran is gaining support from all layers of society.

Nationwide demonstrations have been taking place following the death of 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 picture.

She wrote: “Your final absence, the migration of singing birds, 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 female Iranian actresses have shared pictures of themselves online without the compulsory hijab in solidarity with the women demonstrating across the country.

The city of Zahedan, located in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan on the Gulf of Oman, has seen the deadliest violence so far in the weeks of protests.

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Protesters flee gunfire in Iran

Iranian officials, who have blamed Ms Amini’s death on pre-existing medical problems, claim the unrest has been fuelled by foreign enemies including the US, and have accused armed separatists of perpetrating violence.

The country has a theocratic government, meaning its ruling systems are based on religious laws and precepts.

The protests have become the greatest threat to the Iranian government since the 2009 Green Movement demonstrations. International pressure is also being applied to the government, over its treatment of protesters.

Rallies have evolved from focusing on women’s rights and the state-mandated headscarf, to calls to oust Shiite clerics who have ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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