The House of Cinema, Iran's most celebrated independent film institute, was ordered to close yesterday after a decision by the country's Ministry of Culture. It comes after a string of arrests of leading film industry figures and the imposition of bans on certain people making films.
Culture minister Mohammed Hosseini has charged the institute with operating illegally, but its director, Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur, asserts that the minister's own decision has no legal standing in the absence of a court order. A formal court hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday. Supporters of the institute think it has been closed because it is considered to be too political, having supported the production of films critical of the regime. The decision came just hours before the announcement of further restrictions on internet access for Iranian citizens.