Iranian President Bans Western Music From Airwaves

Classic Arts News   Iranian President Bans Western Music From Airwaves
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's recently elected president, has banned Western music, including classical music, from state television and radio stations, the Associated Press reports.

"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required," read a statement posted on the web site of the Iran's Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council.

According to the AP, Western music was banned from Iran after the Islamist revolution of 1979, but began to return in the 1980s, and became omnipresent in the late 1990s under president Mohammed Khatami, a reformer.

During the cultural thaw, Ali Rahbari, a Vienna-trained conductor, returned to lead the Tehran Symphony. But he resigned in November to protest low pay for his orchestra's musicians. Performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony just before his departure prompted anger from conservatives, the AP says.

Ahmadinejad, a hardliner, has made a series of confrontational statements since taking office in August, declaring at one point that Israel should be "wiped off the map."

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