Tahmaseb was among five filmmakers arrested just as the BBC Persian service aired a critical documentary on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to news accounts. Although the others were released, the Intelligence Ministry issued a statement accusing Tahmaseb of serious crimes, including “fulfilling the needs of the intelligence service of Britain,” “providing propaganda for psychological war for Iran’s enemies,” and “money laundering.” The filmmaker was being held at Evin Prison in late year, Radio France Internationale reported.
It was not clear why the government initially targeted the group of filmmakers. The BBC reported that the five filmmakers were not involved in the production of the Khamenei documentary.
Tahmaseb had directed the 2011 documentary, “This Is Not a Film,” which depicted the detention of another director, Ja’far Panahi. Prior to his arrest, on September 5, Tahmaseb was taken off a flight to Europe, and his passport was confiscated, the BBC Persian service reported. His wife traveled in his place to present “This Is Not a Film” at a variety of film festivals.