A group of Iranian filmmakers and actors has travelled to Mazandaran to express support for Afghan immigrants, following the provincial government’s decision to expel all Afghan residents.

The Shargh newspaper reports that the group, including Daryoosh Mehrjui, Mani Haghighi and Leila Hatami, intends to meet with Afghan immigrants in Mazandaran and protest against the province’s discriminatory decision.

A similar move was made by Asghar Farhadi, the award-winning Iranian director, who announced that he is returning to Tehran in May to show his film “A Separation” to Afghan-immigrant communities in Tehran and to discuss the discriminatory laws.

According to a report from the Mehr News Agency, the Mazandaran government aims to “cleanse the province of foreign citizens”, and the Mazandaran Security Council has announced that Afghan immigrants are banned from settling in the northern province.

According to another report, Afghan immigrants were prohibited from entering a public park in Esfahan on April 1.
These reports have raised protests from several rights groups in the country, and the Iranian film community has been especially critical of the overt discrimination against Afghan immigrants.

Mani Haghighi, a spokesman for the film group travelling to Mazandaran, has been quoted as saying: “To create a prosperous Iran, we need to give our Afghan brothers and sisters the right to reside and work, pursue higher education, and obtain health insurance and housing in Iran.”

According to latest statistics, about one million Afghan citizens are legally residing in Iran and another two million or so are estimated to be living there without papers.Following Mazandaran Provincial government’s decision to expel all Afghan immigrants, a group of Iranian filmmakers and actors including Daryoosh Mehrjui, Mani Haghighi and Leila Hatami travelled to Mazandaran to express their support for Afghan immigrants living in Iran.

Shargh newspaper reports that the group intend to meet with Afghan immigrants in Mazandaran and protest against the discriminatory decision of the provincial government.

A similar move was made by Asghar Farhadi, Iranian award winning director who has announced that he is returning to Tehran in May to show his film “A Separation” in Afghan immigrant communities in Tehran and hold discussions in protest to discriminatory laws against Afghan immigrants in Iran.

Mehr News Agency reported that Mazandaran provincial government is aiming at “cleansing the province of foreign citizens” adding that the provincial Security Council has announced that Afghan immigrants are banned from settling in the northern province.

In another report this month, Afghan immigrants were prohibited from entering a public park in Esfahan on April 1.

These reports have been protested by several rights groups in the country and the Iranian film community has been especially critical of the overt discrimination against Afghan immigrants in the country.

Mani Haghighi as a spokesman for the film group travelling to Mazandaran has been quoted as saying: “To create a prosperous Iran, we need to give our Afghan brothers and sisters the right to reside, to work and to pursue higher education and also offer them appropriate health insurance and housing in Iran.”

According to latest statistics in Iran about a million Afghan citizens are legally residing in Iran and about another 2 million are estimated to be living there without papers.