Comprehension Exercise – Creative Writing – 161

Comprehension Exercise

Creative Writing – 161

Read the following BBC article and answer all the comprehension questions given underneath

Taraneh Alidoosti: Top Iran actress who supported protests arrested

Iranian authorities have arrested one of the country’s best known actresses, after she expressed solidarity with anti-government demonstrators.

Taraneh Alidoosti was detained on charges of “spreading falsehoods” about the protest movement that has gripped the country, state media said.

In an Instagram post last week, she condemned the execution of a man over his involvement with the protests.
Ms Alidoosti is best known for her role in the Oscar-winning film The Salesman.
In her post, the 38-year-old took aim at some international organisations for not speaking out against the execution of Mohsen Shekari.

He was hanged by authorities after they accused him of being a “rioter” who blocked a main road in Tehran in September and wounded a member of a paramilitary force with a machete.

“His name was Mohsen Shekari. Every international organisation who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity,” she wrote.

According to a post on the state news agency IRNA’s Telegram account, she was arrested by police for failing to provide “any documents in line with her claims”. Her Instagram account, which has more than eight million followers, was recently taken down.

The 38-year-old is one of Iran’s most successful actresses. She starred in The Salesman, which won an Academy Award in 2016 for the Best International Feature Film.
But since the outbreak of the protest movement she became a vocal critic of the Iranian government’s attempts to clamp down on the nationwide unrest, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.

In November, she attracted attention after posting an image of herself on Instagram without a headscarf to signal solidarity with the demonstrations. The protest movement has become one of the most serious challenges to the Iranian regime since it came to power in the 1979 revolution.

Authorities have already executed two men after they were found guilty of “moharebeh” – roughly translated as “enmity against God”. Under Iranian law, the crime is defined as “creating public insecurity” by threatening lives or property with a weapon.

Comprehension Questions

1. How did Taraneh Alidoosti shoot to fame?
2. Why did she invite the ire of the Iranian government? Why does she think that some international organizations are apathetic to the cause of Iranian women fighting for freedom?
3. What crime did the Iranian authorities accuse Mohsen Shekari of? What punishment did they give him?
4. What specific act of Taraneh Alidoosti raised the eyebrows of the Iranian authorities?
5. How did Ms.Mhasa Amin die? What did her death lead to?
6. What is 1979 Revolution? Write 10 lines on it.


1. Taraneh Alidoosti, the 38-year-old Iranian actress won the prestigious Oscar award for her role in the film ‘The Salesman’. This achievement brought her to the limelight in world cinema, and she became very famous.

2. Taraneh Alidoosti has women’s freedom in her DNA. Ever since the unfortunate death of Ms. Mhasa Amin in police custody, her heart rebelled against the government rule enforcing the use of hijab by women in public spaces. She chose, quite defiantly, to vent her anger against such a repressive diktat of her country’s government. Later, the government executed an anti-hijab protester by the name Mohsen Shekari on concocted charges. This was the tipping point for Ms. Taraneh Alidoosti who became more vocal in not only criticizing her own government, but also against international human rights organizations for turning a blind eye to the plight of Iranian women and men holding anti-hijab views.

3. The Iranian authorities took Mohsen Shekari to custody and brought severe charges like planning terrorist attacks and disrupting peace. Quite promptly, the pliable judiciary conducted a fast-track trial and ordered Shekari to be hanged.

4. Ms. Taraneh Alidoosti appeared in Instagram wearing no hijab. It was a symbolic protest from the firebrand artist that her millions of followers noted. The Iranian authorities were peeved by her defiant show of solidarity with the anti-hijab protesters.

5. Ms. Mhasa Amin was a young lady in her twenties who had ventured out with no hijab covering her head. The morality police of the country known for their heavy-handedness took her to custody, and apparently tortured her to death. This incident sparked spontaneous nationwide protests with women at the frontline. The simmering discontent of the public due to the economic hardship faced by them fuelled the demonstrations.

6. The Shah of Iran, the pro-western, powerful autocratic ruler of Iran left the country in disgrace when country-wide protests against his rule became too worrisome to hold on to power. The Shah’s push to make Iranian society adopt western ways was too fast and too drastic for the people to reconcile to. Around that time, Ayatollah Khomeini, the ultra-conservative Islamist Shia leader, was spending his time in forced exile in Paris. Within hours of the Shah exiting the country, the Ayatollah made a triumphant return to Teheran, the country’s capital. He received a grand welcome from frenzied crowds. A national referendum was conducted on April 1, 1979 that made Iran a theocratic-democratic republic with the Ayatollah as the de-facto head. This is called the 1979 Revolution that changed the history and future of the country.

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