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Inquisitive journalists infuriate Iranian Academy of Arts director

Source: Mehr News Agency

The new director of the Iranian Academy of Arts (IAA), Ali Moallem Damghani, was harassed by journalists questioning his legitimacy and Kazakhstan's claim on Iranian philosopher Farabi during a press conference on Monday.

Moallem Damghani

Moallem Damghani and his Kazakh counterpart attended the press conference in Tehran to explain a memorandum of understanding which was signed on Monday between the academies of arts of the two countries.

Damghani with his Kazakh counterpart

Poet Moallem Damghani was appointed to the position on December 22, following the dismissal of painter and architect Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the major rival of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential election.

"There has been widespread debate whether or not I'm qualified for this position, but is your question appropriate for this meeting?" Moallem Damghani told a journalist who questioned his qualifications for the position.

He called on the journalist to stop asking such questions and to respect the conference.

"Poetry is also an art form and frequently it is a source of inspiration for other art forms. Thus I am more suited to this position than many others who lack qualifications for their positions," he added.

Another reporter, who intended to make a comparison between Moallem Damghani and his Kazakh counterpart, asked a similar question of the director of the Kazakh National Academy of Arts.

He introduced himself as a composer of classical music. He also said that he has collaborated with UNESCO in his country in various fields of art.

Another journalist questioned the Kazakhstan claim on Iranian philosopher Farabi (c. 878-950).

He said that the question needs an in-depth study and emphasized that Farabi was born in a place not far from present-day Kazakhstan.

"It doesn't matter to whom Farabi belongs, he belongs to the people who have him in their minds and thoughts," Moallem Damghani interjected.

"We have no academic quarrel today," he said and added, "We are gathered here today to speak of our cultural commonalities, so you (journalists) should be respectful toward this gathering and we should observe our customs of hospitality."

Mousavi's dismissal from the IAA occurred following the Iranian government's decision to modify article 8 of the IAA charter. The modification empowered the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, headed by the president, to appoint the IAA director.

A number of IAA members raised strong objections to the government's decision, threatening to resign if a director is imposed upon the academy.

IAA Art Research Center director Hassan Bolkhari and IAA secretary Bahman Namvar-Motlaq resigned after Moallem Damghani's appointment to the academy, but he refused to accept their letters of resignation.

... Payvand News - 02/23/10 ... --

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