Iranian Pop Singer Banned After Releasing Anti-War Music Video

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned Iranian pop singer Mehdi Yarrahi from recording and performing in public following the release of his anti-war music video “Pareh Sang” (Broken Rock) which the authorities have described as “demeaning, offensive and an affront to the legacy of the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq war, 1980-88]”, according to a report by the Tasnim news agency.

The song is on Mr. Yarrahi’s latest album, which has been produced by the Jame Sabz Institute for the Arts. The lyrics are about the devastating effects of war, poverty, economic inequality, drought, and water shortage.

In the music video, Yarrahi highlights the destructive and enduring impact of the Iran-Iraq war on his birthplace, the southern province of Khuzestan.

The ministry has also summoned the manager of Yarrahi’s music band and Farhad Gooyabadi, the director of Jame Sabz.

The authorities previously cautioned Yarrahi for supporting striking steelworkers in Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan, by wearing one of their uniforms on stage during a concert in December.

Majid Foroughi, the director of the public relations office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, told the Young Journalist Club news agency that both the lyrics and the music video of “Pareh Sang” failed to comply with the specific permits that the ministry had issued to Yarrahi.

Speaking to the music website “Musicema,” Farhad Gooyabadi, the director of Jame Sabz, said: “We are not commenting on the matter at this time, but will meet with officials from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in the coming days. However, we don’t think there is any problem with this music video. We’ll discuss the issue with the authorities.”

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi