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Iranian officials arrest two prominent actors as brutal crackdown on protesters steps up

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Iranian officials have arrested two of its most well-known actors for publicly supporting mass anti-government protests. Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi are both accused of collusion and acting against Iran’s authorities, the country’s state-run news agency Irna reports.

Both women earlier appeared in public without their headscarves, which is a gesture of solidarity with demonstrators.

They are both well-known Iranian actors with a large fan following in the country.

Iran has been the scene of widespread demonstrations ever since 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini was beaten to death by the country’s morality police on September 16 for not wearing a hijab or head covering.

Police denied that she was mistreated and said she suffered a heart attack.

Ms Ghaziani and Ms Riahi – both multiple-award-winning actresses – were arrested on Sunday on the orders of Iran’s prosecutor’s office, Irna says.

Before the arrest, Ms Ghaziani wrote on social media that “whatever happens, know that as always I will stand with the people of Iran”.

“This may be my last post,” she added.

The actors are the latest high-profile Iranian figures who have expressed their support for the demonstrators protesting against the country’s clerical establishment.

READ MORE:Iran braces for regime change as protesters reject talks with Tehran

The BBC reports that yesterday Ehsan Hajsafi, the captain of Iran’s national football team at the World Cup in Qatar, said: “We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy.”

And the head of Iran’s boxing federation, Hossein Soori, said he would not be returning home from a tournament in Spain due to the violent suppression of the protests in his home country.

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) estimate at least 58 children, some as young as eight, have been killed in the last two months, including Sarina Esmailzadeh and Nika Shakarami, both aged 16.

In total, HRA says at least 388 people have been killed and more than 16,000 arrested.

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And an Iranian-American campaigner has said Iran is now in the grip of a full-scale revolution after the torching of the ancestral home of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the cleric who founded the Islamic Republic in 1979.

Dr Majid Sadeghpour was commenting after images posted on social media appeared to show protesters setting fire to the house, now a museum which commemorates the life of the religious leader – although the semi-official news agency Tasnim subsequently quoted a government source as denying the building has been targeted.

Commenting on the incredible pictures, Dr Sadeghpour, political director of the Organisation of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), told Express.co.uk: “The embers of 40 plus years of pent-up anger against religious fascism and single party rule of the clerics have irrevocably ignited.

“We are witnessing the process of an inferno that will not only burn the ancestral home of the regime’s founder but that of Khamenei and the entirety of the regime they represent.”



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