Iran threatens to boycott Western festivals

September 16, 2009

TEHRAN -- The art advisor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran would boycott the Western festivals if they were turned into a venue for the ‘shows of subversive activities’ against the government.

“The world’s festivals should know that if they want to become venues showing subversive activities against the (Iranian) government, (Iranian) artists and officials will decide to boycott the event,” Javad Shamaqdari said in a report published on Iran’s Islamic Society of Artists website on Monday.
“The enemy, which has been disappointed concerning their plans for a velvet coup and a soft war in Iran, tries to keep up the fever of their subversive activities at foreign art and cinematic events. The Venice film festival was a vulgar display revealing the enemy’s plan,” Shamaqdari said.
These remarks were made following the screenings of several films by foreign-based Iranians directors at the Venice film festival last week.
Hana Makhmalbaf’s “Green Days” depicting the street protests that followed June’s presidential vote was in the festival’s lineup.
The festival also screened video artist Shirin Neshat’s “Women Without Men”, which chronicles the lives of four women at the time of the 1953 foreign-backed coup in Iran.
In addition, Nader Homayun’s “Tehroun”, which shows the dark side of Tehran, presenting it as filled with prostitutes, beggars and baby traffickers, hit the silver screen at Venice.
Many Iranian and foreign participants clad in green, symbolizing the supporters of opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, posed for photographers during the festival’s photocalls.