Hossein Mosafer Astaneh

The controversy around the performance of Hedda Gabler in Tehran continued as the director of the office of Performing Arts announced that there is no legal problem with this production and that he will make every effort to protect the rights of the group.

ISNA reports that Hossein Mossafer Astaneh, director of the office of Performing Arts emphasized that this play had gone on stage with a legal permit. He maintained that the show had been closed down because “currently it has received adverse reviews and the Council of Supervision and Evaluation has decided to stop it in order to lay public minds at rest.”

Mossafer Astaneh also promised to submit the production to expert review and make any adjustments that are necessary.

He added that he will probably file an official complaint against Fars news agency which started the controversial reactions to this production by accusing them of “hedonism.”

He said: “I published a critique of this in the media and if necessary I will pursue it through legal channels. But we must not forget that there are always differences of opinion on cultural works and we must draw all the different opinions together and try to replace quarrels with understanding.”

About the fate of Vahid Rahbani, the play director who was arrested yesterday, Mossafer Astaneh said: “As far as I know, the interrogations have taken place. Of course, I completely agree with judicial authorities; they need to consider every aspect in order to carry out justice. However, since the play went on stage after passing through all legal channels and having secured the necessary permits, I hope that the legalities are satisfied and the rights of this production group are not violated.”

Rahbani’s production of Hedda Gabler was closed down in Tehran after Fars news agency described it as “vulgar and hedonistic.”

Yesterday Tehran’s prosecutor summoned the director and other members of the show for questioning announcing that any activity that endangers the cultural security of society will be confronted.

While the minister of culture announced that they had looked into the matter and found everything in order with the play, head of the parliament’s cultural commission maintained that the production went against Iranian people’s values and must be confronted.