Musical show on Iranian channel
Musical instruments shown on Iran TV for first time in decades
Iranian television is banned from showing musicians, musical instruments for decades, and one broadcast this past week turned into a sensation. Was it an error or act of defiance?

Since Iran has elected the relatively-moderate President Hassan Rohani, many new voices came to life from the Islamic Republic, who so far was isolated and withdrawn. These new Iranian voices do not necessarily speak of matters related to the nuclear program: This week, for the first time in 30 years, Iran's Channel 1 broadcasted musicians and musical instruments on television.



BBC reported that throughout the years, Iran led a strict policy by which musical instruments were banned from appearing on television. According to religious figures in the country, when concerts were aired on TV, the players were not shown actively playing music, and their images were replaced with pictures of flowers. However, strangely, BBC notes that television programs that were broadcasted to Iranian abroad did show musical instruments.


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The musical show on the Iranian channel featured musicians with traditional instruments who performed a tribute piece celebrating the birthday of Islamic prophet Muhammad.


It is not yet clear whether the program was deliberately aimed at breaking the Iranian taboo or whether there was an error in the broadcast.


Error in broadcast? Musicians performing on Iranian channel
Error in broadcast? Musicians performing on Iranian channel


Gholamreza Bakhtiari, the producer of the program in question, claimed in an interview with Iranian news agency Fars that the broadcast of the images was a mistake and he is "ready to accept the consequences".


However, even if the incident was indeed an error, the move was highly praised among liberal media outlets. Iranian paper Sharq ran an extensive article about the unprecedented event and claimed that "the spell on showing instruments in the national media is finally broken."


IRIB, the Iranian state broadcaster, has faced criticism over the long-running ban. Artists claimed that the national television is preventing Iranian children from learning about their culture.


This is not the first time it is implied that music is an unworthy vocation in Iran. In the past, the Islamic Republic's Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that music is not fitting to Iran's values.


In a response to a young man's question in regards to picking up playing the tar, a Farsi musical instrument, Khamenei responded: "Even though playing music is accepted, its study is inconsistent with the higher values of the Islamic Republic's holy regime."


"It is better for our precious youth to use its time in studying science and other vital and efficient skills, and to engage in sports instead of music for recreation," he claimed.


The Ayatollah's dark attitude towards music was highly expressed in the eighties when Western music was banned, and pop artists were forced into exile.


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