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Novelist Declines Award To Express Sympathy For Iran Protest Victims

Roqiyeh (Roghieh) Kabiri, Iranian novelist. File photo

An award-winning Iranian novelist, Roqiyeh (Roghieh) Kabiri has declined a prize to protest deadly suppression of protesters in Iran in November that left hundreds dead.

In an open letter to the Iranian Youth Cinema Society, (IYCS) and the Foundation of Iranian Literature and Story, Ms. Kabiri has noted, "Following the events that made many people of my country bereaved, I declare my decision to decline the prize and its related cash award."

The contest for the best short stories for adaptation was held alongside the Teheran International Short Film Festival that ended on November 14, a day before the anti-regime protests broke out across Iran.

IYCS is associated with the Iranian Ministry of Culture and has seventy branches around the country, with its headquarters in Tehran.

Ms. Kabiri won the second place in the contest for her short story, 'Pasbanha-ye Batnam," (roughly meaning, the Guardians of My Hidden Side.)

The protests, initially against an unexpected overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices, soon turned into widespread anti-Islamic Republic establishment demonstrations in 28 out of 31 provinces of the country.

Amnesty International has confirmed the deaths of at least 208, opposition groups have put the number around 400, and U.S. officials have said it could be as high as 1,000.