Iran 'not like Egypt': top Iranian director

17th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The changes sweeping through Egypt and Tunisia are unlikely to happen in Iran in the near future, as the respective societies are very different, a top Iranian director said Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Berlin film festival here, award-winning director Rafi Pitts acknowledged some similarities between what is currently going on in Iran and the seismic revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

"But look, don't try and compare Egypt, Tunisia etcetera to Iran. It's not the same, we don't have the same historical background," he said on a panel discussion with other filmmakers and rights activists.

"The only similarity is the youth. In Egypt, two-thirds of the country is very young. In Tunisia, they are also very young.

"In Iran, the young people just want a future and I don't see why the government has to be so hard on people who just want to live," he said to prolonged applause.

"What you have to realise in Iran is that it's a very, very complex country, It's not about the good guys and the bad guys, you can't simplify things in that way," said Pitts, whose political thriller "The Hunter" appeared in the 2010 competition.

This year's Berlin film festival, one of the world's top cinema showcases, has highlighted the work of dissident Iranian directors and invited the most prominent among them, Jafar Panahi, to serve on its jury.

However an Iranian court in December handed Panahi a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year film-making ban and though he is free on bail, he is barred from travelling abroad.

"What happened to Panahi what that he was doing his job. He was not political, he was doing his job," said Pitts

"Just the fact of asking a question has become political from the government's point of view."

© 2011 AFP

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