Iranian dissident director Jafar Panahi has reportedly left Iran for the first time in 14 years after a travel ban imposed on him was lifted in 2009.
Panahi’s wife, Tahereh Saeedi, posted a photo on Instagram on Tuesday evening showing her arriving with her husband at an undisclosed airport.
It was encrypted captioned: “After 14 years Jafar’s ban has been lifted and we are finally going to travel together for a few days…”
Panahi is seen waving and pushing a luggage cart loaded with three large suitcases.
There is no information on where the photo was taken although there have been suggestions on social media that the backdrop is a French airport.
Panahi – whose credits include white ball, The circle And Taxi – has spent most of his career as a filmmaker in the crosshairs of the authoritarian government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The director has been unable to leave Iran since 2009 after stoking his anger for attending the funeral of a student shot dead during the Green Revolution and his subsequent attempt to shoot a feature film against the backdrop of an uprising.
In 2010, he received a six-year suspended prison sentence and a 20-year filming and travel ban in December 2010 for “propaganda against the system”.
Working around the ban on making films, Panahi managed to make six films nonetheless covering this is not a movie, Curtain closed, TaxI, three faces And no bear.
The reported trip comes two months after Panahi was released from Tehran’s infamous Evin prison following his arrest in July alongside filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad in a government crackdown on artists from the country and freedom of expression.
While inside, “Woman Life Freedom” protests erupted in Iran in September following the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, while in the custody of the vice police of the country for not wearing her hijab properly.
Many Iranians believe the women-led movement heralds an era of change for the country after the Islamic Republic government’s 44-year-old draconian rule, although it remains to be seen how the regime will ultimately handle the uprising.
Deadline has reached out to sources to confirm the report that Panahi has been cleared to travel overseas.