The Islamic Republic Of Iran will no longer tolerate "morally deviant" music like Rap

"I wanna break all borders and boundaries before the flight and escape of all our valuable brains. All the youth in Iran have plans of leaving, from continent to continent they are travelling. After 2000 years it's the time of breaking tradition, suffocating our family trees in exile."

These frustrated lyrics from Sad Ghasam, ‘One Hundred Promises’, are especially pertinent to the post-2005 era, when Ahmadinejad banned Western and “indecent” music from state-run TV and radio stations.

Tehran’s chief of police, Hossein Sajedi-Nia, has revealed the fate of young Iranians who are attracted to what he calls “morally deviant” music.

According to Tehran-Emrouz, an Iranian daily newspaper, he said that young Iranian men and women were arrested last week in a score of raids targeting the capital’s underground rap scene. The rappers – both male and female – had apparently taken over “vacant” buildings in order to create what Iran’s regime has depicted as degenerative, anti-Islamic music. Tehran-Emrouz describes how the police kept the buildings under surveillance after they were informed that “young boys and girls” had been seen with “unusual appearances and musical instruments”.

This will enrage and frighten young Iranians. The most important relationships many of them have are with their neighbours. Small but necessary violations of Iran’s laws require, quite simply, that neighbours keep silent for each other. You either get away with it – or someone squeals.

Across Iran, illicit house parties with smuggled alcohol, large amounts of cannabis, and booming Western music are the norm. Young Iranians believe it is a risk worth taking: “As long as we are careful,” one partygoer told me, “as long as we know who our neighbours are, we can dance to whatever music we want.” She is right. More often than not, the Iranian police have turned a blind eye to what Iranians do in the comfort of their own homes.

The regime can tolerate its youth intoxicated. But what it cannot abide is young Iranians actively subverting its authority. Iranian rap is not a direct emulation of what the regime deems “messianic” American rap; its lyrics often derive from the pain of living under the corruption and abuse of the Islamic Republic. - (Writes by Leyla Ferani)

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