Iranian authorities are going to issue permits for street concerts according to a statement from a Tehran City Councillor. The permit has to be reportedly issued by the Ministry of Guidance as well as local security forces. The announcement comes a month after prominent Iranian musician Homayoon Shajarian made a request for public street concert permits. Elham Fakhri, Tehran City Councillor announced that they have received the necessary permit from the Ministry of Guidance for street concerts.
In July, Homayoon Shajarian referred in his Instagram account to the street concert in the context of the country’s ailing economy and the hardships being endured by Iranians in that regard. Shajarian wrote that if there were no issues regarding permits, he would be ready to stage free street concerts to help raise the people’s spirits in these times of hardship. Shajarian’s idea was then picked up by other musicians such as as Sirvan Khosravi and Hamid Hirad who also declared their readiness to join such efforts.
Elham Fakhri maintained that in addition to the Ministry of Guidance, permits will need to be issued by security bodies as well adding that the City Council will act as organizer and facilitator in this regard. Fakhri also stated there are two groups of musicians requesting the permits. The first group are those who want to give free concerts and the second group are younger, lesser-known musicians who want to perform in identified locations in the city. Requests of both groups are now being reviewed by the Council.
Public concerts have been a controversial issue in Iran. In recent years, extremist factions of the Islamic Republic have shown a strong aversion to concerts and despite permits being issued by the Minsitry of Guidance for many concerts, at times, local authorities have canceled concerts at the eleventh hour branding them as inappropriate.
Reports indicate that while the ministry has announced its readiness to issue a permit for Homayoon Shajarian’s suggested street concert, there has been no official steps taken so far.
Many musicians such as Reza Yazdani, Mehdi Yarahi, Farzad Farzin, Shahram Shokouhi and Omid Nemati have expressed support for Shajarian’s proposal, however, Shahram Nazeri,another prominent name in traditional Iranian music voiced a different sentiment toward the purpose of this venture. “Personally, I am in favor of any event that will raise the people’s spirit; but I have to ask if the performance of street concerts could really solve the problems our people face. Can we truly heal our people with such concerts?” Nazeri was quoted as saying.
Sirvan Khosravi, another Iranian musician also expressed similar sentiments referring to street concerts as a mere “painkiller” for someone struggling with cancer.
The Iranian economy has been thrown into havoc following the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement forged in 2015. Lack of confidence in the future of the economy has caused a sharp fall in the value of the national currency and a similar rise in inflation. These economic problems in conjunction with the chronic rising unemployment in recent years are now affecting the everyday lives of more and more Iranians.
President Hassan Rohani was recently called on by parliament to justify the conduct of his government in view of the developing economic problems specifically the fall of the national currency value and the deepening economic recession.