Iranian lawmaker sparks argument over sunglasses, musical instruments
A lawmaker and cleric apologized for saying that people who regard musical instruments and sunglasses as priorities should leave Iran and reside elsewhere.
After a strong reaction to an interview on the Didban-e Iran website on Friday, Kazem Mousavi said On Tuesday, his remarks had been twisted and scarce foreign currency was needed to import much needed food and other goods.
But in the previous interview, Mousavi had not only defended import bans for economic reasons. The outright cleric had also said that musical instruments should not be allowed in an Islamic country. It is not at all clear what the religious source was for making such a claim about sunglasses, as many officials in the Islamic Republic have been seen outside wearing sunglasses.
The problem of clerics making rules as they go is a source of tension in Iran. The Qur’an is often very general on matters of lifestyle, but clerics, especially hard-line ones, make their own interpretations which they impose on society by using their political power in government.
Mousavi noted that anyone who wants a different way of life should leave Iran. The deputy was criticized on the air by Mohamad Delavari, a popular and outspoken presenter on state television (IRIB). “Who gave you the right to make decisions for the people? Delavari said: “You have a voice to express in parliament. Give your own vote and leave it to ourselves. You are not in a position to decide what is in the best interests of the country.”
Numerous other articles and social media highlighted Mousavi and his associates’ interest in music and sunglasses at a time when the country was grappling with much more serious issues. Social media users have posted hundreds of selfies with sunglasses, musical instruments, or both with the hashtag “We’re here and we’re not going anywhere”.
Such criticism is very rare in the highly controlled IRIB where everyone is ideologically and politically selected for a job.
Others reminded Mousavi of the few votes he won in the February 2020 legislative elections, when he was elected with a low turnout after the Council of Guardians, the constitutional oversight body, banned several rivals.
“Do you want someone whose back is broken under the pressure of inflation to also leave Iran?” On Monday asked for a comment on the Asr-e Iran website. “Anyone who was born within Iran’s borders and has an Iranian birth certificate is an Iranian… Why does Mr. Mousavi think he has a higher right than us? “
Despite the views of some religious fundamentalists, Iranians music continues to thrive and young people follow western pop music.