Did Rouhani Ban Film about Jailed Iranian-American Businessman?

Sobhe-No claimed Oct. 26 that the screening of “Shabnaameh” at the University of Tehran was stopped due to “pressures of high-level [officials] outside the university.” Pointing the finger at the Rouhani administration, Sobhe-No wrote, “After the University of Tehran’s issuing of permission for the screening, some governmental institutions that are outside the university sought the cancellation of the screening through the office of the vice presidency for science and technology.”

However, the cultural deputy of the chancelor of the University of Tehran told the official IRNA news agency Oct. 25 that “Shabnaameh” didn’t have the required permissions to be screened from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Criticizing the cancellation of the screening at the University of Tehran, Mehdi Mohammadi, a hard-line pundit and member of the nuclear negotiating team of failed presidential candidate Saeed Jalili — who just so happens to appear in “Shabnaameh” — wrote on his Telegram channel, “A wide network … in Iran exists that is directly related to the US, and its goal is to conduct security activities under the cover of civic activism, entrepreneurship, and so on and so forth.“ Hinting at the Rouhani administration, Mohammadi added, “Gentlemen, whether you want it or not, the documentary will be unveiled. The issue is who is worried [about the screening] and why?”

Using “Who has become worried about ‘Shabnaameh’?” as its headline, hard-line Javan newspaper protested the cancellation of the screening of the film, which it described as having “revealed the ‘infiltration’ project of the enemy.” In this vein, Javan described the cancellation as a “cover-up policy” while insisting that “reality will be unveiled at last.” It then eerily echoed the tagline of “Shabnaameh”: “Strange days are ahead.”

After being barred from the University of Tehran, “Shabnaameh” made its debut at the conservative-run venue Howze Honari in downtown Tehran a few hours later.

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