The Islamic City Council of Tehran has banned musical instruments in public parks in the capital. Park police have put up signs saying: “Dear residents, please note that musical instruments, hookah, and animals including dogs are not allowed on the park grounds.”
The authorities have taken similar measures in the past. Since 2010, police in Tehran have been putting up notices asking people not to bring pets and musical instruments into parks. However, on national holidays, people ignore these warnings and invite musical groups to perform in parks around the city.
In the past 40 years, the Islamic Republic has tried its utmost to censor concerts and public performances. State radio and TV (IRIB) is not allowed to broadcast music programs in many provinces. Nor do authorities allow female solo artists to sing in public.
Meanwhile, the number of street performers has risen in Tehran in recent years. Many young musicians entertain the public on sidewalks and in parks, particularly during hot summer nights.
The provinces of Isfahan and Khorasan Razavi have already banned concerts and public performances. It would appear that other parts of the country including Tehran are not far behind in imposing strict rules against public shows. Street musicians have so far ignored the warnings and continue to perform for the public.
Members of Hossein Alizadeh’s group, Masters of Persian Music, were not allowed to take their instruments aboard a plane headed for Shiraz in August 2014.
Separately, makers of raditional Iranian musical instruments and some players were excluded from the sixth handicraft exhibition in May 2016 in Tehran.
[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]