Iran’s security forces have arrested a leading ‘reformist’ politician, Mostafa Tajzadeh on Friday and two prominent film directors critical of the regime.

In short reports, websites affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard said Tajzadeh was arrested on charges of “assembly and collusion against state security,” an accusation routinely used to jail all opponents and even those who are considered generally loyal to the principle of having an Islamic Republic.

Tajzadeh was deputy-interior minister during the presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami in 2000s and had become an outspoken critic of policies pursued by dominating hardliners in Iran in recent years. He spent seven years in prison after months of nationwide protests to the results of 2009 presidential elections reinstating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a second term.

But in the past three years, Tajzadeh became increasingly vocal against the hardliners and even Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. From his public comments it was apparent that he remained loyal to the concept of an Islamic Republic but otherwise criticized almost every aspect of the political system Khamenei has nurtured.

In recent days, Tajzadeh vehemently opposed the increasingly harsh methods to enforce hijab in his tweets. In March he opposed the government's policy of not condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"Iranians still remember the bitter experience of Saddam Hussain's war (1980s) and his aggression against Iran, a neighboring country. For this, Iranians condemn the military attack" on Ukraine, he tweeted in March.

Mohammad Rasoulof (R) and Mostafa Alehahmad two prominent film makers

Late Friday, the government’s official news website IRNA announced that two film directors, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alehahmad have also been arrested. They were signatories of a collective statement titles “Lay down the gun” issued by more than 100 film industry personalities in the end of May calling on military and security forces who “have become tools for cracking down on the people,” not to suppress protesters who simply want their basic rights.

Dozens of Rasoulof’s films have won international awards and he is known as an independent filmmaker, who spent one year in prison for filming without a permit from the censors of Iran’s clerical regime.

After the public statement by filmmakers, Rasoulof wrote on his Instagram page that security forces were calling signatories asking them to renounce their signatures or give interviews to state media discrediting the statement.

Some Iranian activists tweeted on Friday and Saturday that Tajzadeh’s arrest puts an end to any notion that even loyal reformists would be allowed to exist in Iran.

Mehdi Nasiri, a regime insider who was once the editor of the conservative flagship, Kayhan Daily tweeted, “Mostafa Tajzadeh’s arrest…who was still defending reforms and opposing political violence for regime change, only means that the rulers are not able to discern their own interests, or those of the people and Iran.”

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