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Iranian Official Says Filmmaker Detained For Security Reasons

An Iranian government official has ruled that the detention of renowned filmmaker Jafar Panahi is for security reasons, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Iranian Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini made the decision in Tehran on April 14. Such a designation means his trial could be held under stricter conditions.

Security and judicial authorities said Panahi was about to produce a movie dealing with the crackdown on opposition activists that began after Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009. They said the movie contributed to disorder in the country.

Reza Allamezadeh, an Iranian filmmaker based in the Netherlands, told Radio Farda that the allegations are contradictory.

"How can a movie, which is still being produced, have an influence on what had happened in the past few months?" he asked.

Allamezadeh added that "as far as I'm concerned, Panahi -- like so many other filmmakers -- was prohibited from making films in Iran."

He said he strongly believes Panahi was a target of the system for so long because of his views on democracy and freedom.

Panahi, whose movies are banned in Iran, has received awards at international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, and Venice.

He was arrested on March 2 at his home along with other house guests. He is being held in the notorious Section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison.