Authorities arrested Iranian singer Amir Tataloo on August 24, demanding that he appear before a court on charges of "promoting immorality.”
Tataloo, an “underground” or “basement” singer, does not have a Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance-issued licence to perform and record his music. Although not officially banned, he and other underground singers face continual problems with authorities because their music is deemed to be in some way subversive or in violation of the values of the Islamic Republic.
In the past, authorities have singled out Tataloo, a rapper and rhythm and blues singer, for espousing Western, “non-Iranian” values.
Tataloo was previously jailed in 2013 after he appeared on satellite TV channels. Revolutionary Guards and members of the morality police were behind his arrest. He has a huge following on social media.
In the most recent incident, Iranian media reported that he would appear before a court that deals specifically with media and culture-related offences.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, religious leaders and hardliners have kept a close eye on Iran’s music industry and community. Following Hassan Rouhani’s election to the presidency in 2013, there were hopes for a degree of relaxation on some of the tight regulations and bans that muzzle music and musicians in Iran. Instead, music has become yet another battleground for the government and some of the country’s hardliners, including the Revolutionary Guards.
In many cases, local authorities have increasingly exercised their powers, canceling concerts and clamping down on musicians according to their own assessment of Islamic values and tradition.