The concerts, organized by foreign embassies in Tehran, were apparently shut down at the last minute. "The culture ministry canceled the concerts fearing there may be some attacks on the concert halls by hardliners," a foreign embassy official told Reuters.
Two jazz concerts organized by the Italian embassy were canceled hours before the performers went on stage. Also, the culture ministry this week stopped a series of classical concerts planned by the Swiss embassy.
The hard-line Jomhuri Islami newspaper has been critical of the foreign-sponsored concerts, and of the culture ministry's attempts to bring live jazz to Tehran, although jazz and classical music are both authorized by the government and played on state radio station. In an article last week, the newspaper wrote, "Our religious people are against such concerts which help to spread the corrupt Western culture," according to the BBC.
Most Western music was banned after the country's 1979 Islamic revolution, but restrictions have eased since President Mohammad Khatami was elected in 1997.
The French and German embassies in Tehran plan to stage evenings of classical music later this week, despite the recent cancellations.