Panahi is currently under house arrest after he was sentenced to six years custody and hit with a 20-year moviemaking ban over his support for opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
European Union leaders announced on Friday (26Oct12) that Panahi's activism has earned him this year's (12) Sakharov prize, a $65,000 (£40,600) grant which is awarded for dedication to human rights and freedom of thought. He will share the honour with Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Jailed Russian punk stars Pussy Riot were among the nominees for this year's award.
Russian nuclear physicist turned political dissident Andrei Sakharov, whose outspoken views on human rights oppression in his homeland brought him not only the Nobel Peace Prize, but also internal exile in the closed-to-foreigners city of Gorky, was the timely subject of this made-for-cable film. It was so timely that its premiere date was moved forward by three months because of Sakharov's widely publicized hunger strike aimed at forcing the authorities to allow his activist wife, Dr. Elena Bonner, to go abroad (for a second time) for a needed operation. A voice-over epilogue brought the film, made in late 1983 in Austria and England, up to date as of its premiere.