LONDON: Film director Mohammad Rasoulof made an “exhausting and extremely dangerous” walk across a mountainous borderland in order to avoid being jailed in Iran on national security charges, he told the Guardian newspaper.

Rasoulof said he had fled Iran after a court sentenced him to eight years in jail, of which five were due to be served, over his new film The Seed of the Sacred Fig.

The film-maker told the Guardian in an interview that he had found shelter in Germany and was hopeful he could attend the film’s Cannes premiere next week.

The film tells the story of a judge’s struggles amid political unrest in Tehran.

“My mission is to be able to convey the narratives of what is going on in Iran and the situation in which we are stuck as Iranians,” Rasoulof told the UK newspaper.

“This is something that I cannot do in prison. I have in mind the idea that I’ll be back quite soon, but I think that’s the case of all the Iranians who have left the country,” he added.

Rasoulof has already served two terms in Iranian jails over previous films and had his passport withdrawn in 2017.

Having decided to leave, Rasoulof told the newspaper he cut all communications via mobile phones and computers and made his way by foot on a secret route to a border crossing.

After staying in a safe house, he contacted German authorities who provided him with papers that enabled him to travel to Europe.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2024

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