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Iranian Culture Ministry: Critical Films Worse Than Espionage

Iran's deputy culture minister reportedly has said that Iranian filmmakers who raise critical questions about life in Iran are guilty of "cultural betrayal" that is "worse than espionage."

Iran's ISNA news agency quotes the deputy culture minister, Javad Shamqadri, as saying some Iranian filmmakers "just look for the dark sides of Iran and expose them in their films" in order to get awards at international film festivals.

Since President Mahmud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, and especially since his disputed reelection last year, cultural and press freedom has become increasingly limited in Iran.

Artists say a drastic decrease in the Iranian government's tolerance for criticism has pushed many Iranian filmmakers to either move abroad or change their profession.

compiled from agency reports