Source: Iran Times
Iran's culture minister says he suddenly revoked the performing license of the Indonesia-based pop band Debu just before it was due to perform four sold-out shows because the license had been issued to the band's Indonesian, not American, members.
Mohammad-Hossain Saffar-Harandi spoke to reporters as he was leaving a cabinet meeting Sunday.
"All the personalities initially featured by Debu were from an Indonesian band, but most of its members who were scheduled to perform their concert were American," he said.
The ministry's Music Office canceled Debu's Tehran concerts minutes before their first scheduled performance at Tehran's National Grand Hall on July 29.
Many were confused by the culture minister's reasoning as it seemed to contradict the fact that the band members' nationalities must have been previously revealed to Iran for visa purposes.
In addition, many of Iran's Persian dailies printed reports on the band, introducing it as a Jakarta-based group that included American, English, Swedish and Indonesian members.
The band had also previously been interviewed by an Iranian state-run TV channel.
President Ahmadinejad's art advisor, Javad Shamaqdari, criticized Culture Ministry officials for their decision in an interview with the Persian art news website, Honar News, on Sunday.
"A performing license is granted in Iran based on specific regulations and the cultural officials are not allowed to simply cancel it minutes before a performance," he said.
"The Debu band had obtained the official license of the Culture Ministry, entered the country with the Foreign Ministry's approval, and its programs have been arranged by the Islamic Cultural Relations Organization. So, those who prevented the band from performing their concerts need to respond," he said.
Ahmadinejad met with the band's leader, Kumayl Mustafa Daood, along with the band leader's mother, Layla, and sister, Naseem, both performers with Debu, in his office Sunday and expressed his hopes that the band could perform its concerts in Iran.
Many Iranian bands have also been troubled by the cultural officials' decisions over musical performances, as a consequence of their having called off many concerts over the past few months. Scheduled performances by Dariush Safevvat, Shahram Nazeri, Layli Afshar and Debu, have all been either canceled or had problems obtaining permits.
Ironically, the Iranian Shams Music Group, led by Keikhosrow Pournazeri, is scheduled to perform concerts in the United States in late September. Tahmoures Pournazeri, a member of the band, announced the group will perform concerts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.
Watch Video of the band
About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations: www.iran-times.com
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