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Iranian Actors Boycott President’s Iftar Ceremony

Several famous Iranian actors and actresses say they will not attend the president’s iftar (breaking fast) ceremony that will take place on Wednesday, May 30.

Using the Farsi hashtag "we do not go to Iftar", the protesting movie stars said on their social media pages that they will reject Hassan Rouhani’s invitation due to political, social, and economic crisis that the country is facing.

The popular and outspoken actress Mahnaz Afshar published a picture of the invitation card next to the jailed human rights activist, Atena Daemi on her Twitter account and asked the president to invite Atena instead of her “who recently turned 30 in Gharchak Varamin prison and now is being held in Evin.”

“She is not a criminal, she has only striven for human rights,” she wrote in a tweet that has been liked by more than 13000 users so far.

“Due to bad economic situation and low morale of our people, some of my colleagues and I believe that such costly gatherings are unnecessary,” Parviz Parastouei, another actor, famous for his roles in several blockbuster comedies, wrote on Instagram.

Actors are aware that the purpose of President Rouhani’s invitation is to hear their problems. “However, you know the problems better than us” and “it seems that the president is looking for someone who could solve them, like us,” Parastouei wrote in a sarcastic post that has received more than 350 thousand likes.

Yet, the actor emphasized that if it was not for Rouhani, Instagram, like many other social media platforms had been filtered and today, he was not able to express his opinion.

I struggle with poverty, the tiniest criticism is suppressed, I cannot allow myself to attend the ceremony”, an actress wrote in an angry instagram post.

Many of the movie stars who have boycotted President Rouhani’s ceremony, backed him during the presidential election in May 2017. Referring to this fact, another actress named Shila Khodad asked Rouhani sarcastically whether he needs their support again?

People’s financial hardship due to severe devaluation of the national currency and other economic failures, negligence of abused children, shortage of drugs, overflow of narcotics that easily can be accessed by the youth, are among the reasons why she has decided to reject the president’s invitation.

“I will not attend this dinner because I want to be able to look into the eyes of my countrymen on the next day without being ashamed,” Khodadad wrote.

In reaction to the boycott by the actors and their growing criticism, spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said on Tuesday that the government has done everything in its power to improve the economy. “Tell us what we could have done that we did not,” asked Nobakht his audience underlining the desperate situation of Rouhani’s government.

The Iranian government hoped that the nuclear agreement signed between Tehran and six major world powers in summer 2015, will help it to create millions of jobs and improve the life of its citizens. However, the recent decision of the US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the deal, is about to ruin this desire.

Iran’s regional ambitions, widespread corruption, mismanagement, lack of transparency and proper supervision are some of the reasons for the country’s dysfunctional economy.