Iranian celebrities openly reject Rouhani’s invitation for a Ramadan Iftar

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A number of Iranian celebrities and artists declined President Hassan Rouhani’s invitation for Iftar in solidarity with popular protests against rising prices and deteriorating living conditions.

Anahita Hamati, Mehnaz Afshar, Parviz Parastui, Chila Khodadad, Barzoo Arjmand, Ehsan Karami and Flor Nazari were among the famous celebrities who publicly declined the Iftar invitation.

Anahita Hamati was one of the first celebrities to decline Hassan Rouhani’s invitation by posting a picture of the official invite that she received on her Instagram page where she wrote about the poor economic situation of the people and people’s Iftar tables that are “becoming emptier, day after day.”

Hamati stated that her recent absence from Iranian television was caused by the fact that “television no longer displays the real life of people.”

In her open letter to Rouhani, the actress criticized the growing percentage of poverty and the government’s lack of interest in solving the country’s problems while suppressing any protest movement. "The iron fist has been grabbing our necks for years and we have been suffocating," she said.

Mehnaz Afshar, another artist who refused Hassan Rouhani's invitation, said that Athena Daimi should be the one to receive such an invitation to attend the president's Iftar table. Daimi is currently serving a seven years prison sentence for “propagating against the regime, collusion against national security, insulting the leadership and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.”

For his part, the famous actor Perviz Parastui refused to accept the invitation of the president's Iftar table saying in a statement he posted on his Instagram account that “given the poor economic situation of the people, there is no need to spend a lot of money on celebrations.”

Iranian social media users launched the hashtag ‘we will not attend your Iftar’ condemning Rouhani for failing to live up to his promises after five years of rule. Social media users cited deteriorating living conditions, suppression of freedoms and increased human rights abuses during Rouhani’s presidency.

Since the launch of the hashtag, many artists, actors and directors have publicly refused to attend Rouhani's Iftar celebration scheduled for Tuesday.