Amid pressure from hardliners and a string of canceled concerts across Iran, Piruz Arjmand, the music director of the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, handed in his resignation on July 6.
Islamist vigilante groups, clerics and politicians determined to banish “Western influences” from Iranian music have stepped up campaigns against live music performances in recent months, making it increasingly difficult for Arjmand to do his job. Some media outlets, including Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), report that Arjmand was forced to go after senior officials gradually stripped him of key responsibilities.
“I handed in my resignation from my position as the music director of the ministry to the deputy of the Ministry’s Art Department, Mr. Morad-Khani,” Arjmand told ILNA. “I intend to attend to my personal preoccupations and continue my academic activities,” he said.
Responding to comments that he had effectively already been removed and speculation that recent consultation over the Fajr Festival had forced his official resignation, Arjmand said, “Each director has his own problems. But everybody knows about the crisis that Iranian music has gone through.”
Under the directorship of Piruz Arjmand, numerous music concerts were canceled in Tehran and other cities, despite organizers having obtained official permission. The Ministry of Culture and Guidance faced criticism for failing to support the musical acts it had originally approved by granting a license.
The recent protests against music began in January, when pro-Hezbollah groups took to the streets to voice their anger over concerts by the group Lian, due to take place in Bushehr. This was followed by further protests and cancelations. Ahead of the Iranian new year, the government announced tough new measures to deal with Iranians who traveled outside of the country to attend concerts during the holiday period.
Read the original article in Persian
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