Iran’s Ministry of Culture has announced that the House of Cinema, the professional organization for the Iranian film community, has been dissolved.

ISNA reported that the director of the House of Cinema has been notified, and the board is now considering the development.

The Ministry of Culture has long had disputes with the House of Cinema, which has been a vocal supporter of the film community, even in the past year when many of its members were arrested and accused of threatening national security through their filmmaking.

The ministry has finally managed close down the House of Cinema on a technicality, saying the group has been operating without the necessary legal permit.

The House of Cinema organizers say: “It is surprising that after nearly 20 years of operation under this name, a name that has been used in all ministry directives, suddenly the House of Cinema is said to lack the legal permit to exist.”

The House of Cinema was heavily criticized by the semi-official Fars news agency, which referred to it as the “House of BBC.” The Iranian Intelligence Minister recently described the BBC as a front for British spying activities, and any link between Iranian filmmakers and the BBC has been used as just cause for their persecution.