Iranian President Hassan Rohani has promised the artistic community that despite pressure from Parliament, his administration will make every effort to promote the National Symphony Orchestra.

In a speech on the night of Wednesday January 8 in Tehran’s Vahdat Amphitheatre, Rohani stressed that his government will support artists in their stand against violence.

He expressed support for freedom of expression and the actions of artists. “Art has no meaning without freedom,” Rohani was quoted as saying; “creativity becomes possible only in the shelter of liberty.”

Minister of Culture and Guidance Ali Jannati, who also attended the gathering, emphasized the need to reduce the supervision of cultural affairs and allow freedom of action for the private sector in this field.

The gathering was attended by several prominent Iranian writers, filmmakers, actors and other members of the arts community.

Rohani promised the gathering that his government will work hard to re-open the National Symphony Orchestra, even if the efforts earn his minister of culture a “yellow card” from Parliament.

Many of Rohani’s ministers have been summoned by Parliament in the past week and given warnings for what Parliament deems to be overtly liberal courses of action.