Iranian hardliners cancel embassy music concerts

5 October 2004

Iranian hardliners cancel embassy music concerts
TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) – A series of concerts organized by foreign embassies in Iran have been cancelled at the last minute, apparently due to increased curbs on cultural events by the Islamic republic’s hardliners, diplomats said yesterday.
Two jazz concerts organized by Italy’s embassy were cancelled last week just hours before the Italian performers — who had flown here for the event — were due to take to the stage.
The influential and hardline Jomhuri Islami newspaper had been critical of the embassy’s plan to bring live jazz to the Iranian public, accusing the organizers of seeking to “promote this kind of music.” In addition, diplomats said a series of Swiss embassy-sponsored classical music soirees due to take place this week were ordered to be cancelled without any explanation.

Jomhuri Islami newspaper has accused the culture ministry, which is run by reformists, of “inviting foreign musical groups.” It said such a policy had been “met with hostility from the people” — even though classical music and jazz are authorized by the regime and broadcast on state radio.
Later this week, the cultural sections of the French and German embassies are planning to stage an evening of classical music, despite the cancellations.

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