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December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In a curiously delayed response, the Directors Guild of America on Wednesday denounced the arrest, conviction and sentencing of award-winning Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and his colleague, Mohammad Rasoulof. The two were sentenced in Iran on Monday to six years in jail and barred from making movies for 20 years for “colluding in the gathering and making of propaganda against the regime.” The sentence had already been slammed by the leaders of several European film organizations and festivals, who launched a petition campaign on Panahi’s behalf to the Iranian government. On Wednesday, DGA President Taylor Hackford said, “We stand together with the world’s film community to protest this illegal action. … We urge the Iranian government to rescind its misguided decision and free Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof.” The two petitions being circulated online have now been signed by nearly 15,000 persons, but veteran Time magazine film critic Richard Corliss expressed doubt that they will have any effect. On the magazine’s website, he wrote, “If all the muscle of the United States and the European Union can’t stop Iran from its nuclear dream, how can a directors’ petition convince the Ayatullahs to give freedom to a filmmaker who dared to tell the truth about his country?”