May 31, 2011
It has now been approved for publication that Iranian censorship has refused to authorize the release and distribution of works by the Iranian singer and composer Hossein Zaman, especially his latest album. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is also refusing to allow him to hold concerts in Iran. His latest album, "Prison" includes mainly political and social themes with words and lyrics written by Zaman himself, who said that for a long time, he has not been allowed to practice any artistic activities in Iran because of the political content of his work, and that he has in effect been totally deprived of his livelihood (Hra).

Nov. 7, 2010
Iran bans weightlifter for life for standing next to Israeli at awards ceremony –
Mir Rasool Raisi, Head of Delegation to Iran’s weightlifting team, and Hossein Khodadadi, a veteran weightlifting champion, have been banned from all sport activities for life. Mr. Khodadadi, who won 2nd place at the Poland competitions, appeared on the platform beside the Israeli weight champion, who won 1st place. He was banned despite the fact that he refused to shake the Israeli’s hand (see video).

Oct. 28
Tehran municipality forbids Western-style architecture in newly built buildings
– Hirbod Masoumi, Tehran’s Deputy Mayor, announced new legislation in the field of construction, emphasizing that from now on, Western architecture was forbidden when designing the visible front of new buildings. Masoumi said the City Council stressed the “need” to follow Iranian and Islamic architectural guidelines.

Oct. 21
It’s a crime to play cards in public
–  The new police chief of Esfahan says it is a crime for women to cycle or roller-skate or play volleyball in public . Further criminal activities include singing near Esfahan’s famous Khajoo Bridge. Karami also said that it is a crime for either sex to play cards in public parks. Karami said police will “severely prosecute” offenders.

Aug. 30
Fars News agency calls to execute managers of multi-level marketing companies – The Fars News agency, affiliated with Iranian president Ahmadinejad, published a detailed report about the history and recent activities of tens of multi-level marketing companies in Iran. Fars News claimed that these companies were operated by “Zionist elements” and “directly harming Iranian citizens and their families”. The Fars News’ report stressed that Iranian law allowed imposing death penalties on those convicted of membership or engagement in multi-level marketing organizations and deplored the fact that none of the hundreds of arrestees had been executed.  

Aug. 17
1.Iranian soccer player sacked for not fasting in Ramadan – Popular Iranian soccer player, Ali Karimi, (known as “the Maradona of Asia”) was fired from his club for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

2. Oppositionist cleric writing from prison: Regime causes religion to be associated with pessimism and despair – Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi, a senior cleric sentenced to eleven years of imprisonment in exile for calling for separation of religion and state, referred in his recent letter from prison to the engagement of clergy in politics. He stressed that this state of affairs provoked pessimism and despair among human beings, which they associate with religion.

3. New “soft war”: Conversion of teenagers to Christianity – Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, Heidar Moslehi, warned against what he called “new soft war project to convert Muslims teenagers into Christianity”. Moslehi said the project was carried out by “a Protestant group backed by Zionists”. In a meeting of Education Ministry’s officials, Moslehi asserted that the Government makes a clear distinction between this group and the “legally recognized religious minorities” (Mardomak, August 14).


Education – no separation of Church and State
:

  • Iran’s Education Ministry bans employment of school teachers affiliated with "illegal” groups – Iran’s Education Ministry has issued new directives barring the employment as school teachers of persons affiliated with "illegal" parties, organizations, and groups. The directives issued on November 2 stipulate that such persons may not be employed as teachers "unless they repent". Belief and practical commitment to the principle of velayat-e faqih (rule of the jurisprudent) as well as to the Islamic republic regime and constitution have been among the requirements for employing teachers in Iran since 1981. Saeed Peyvandi, a Paris-based expert on education in Iran, said that such measures pave the way for questioning job applicants about their thoughts, beliefs, ideology, and political affiliations. "Enforcing this directive necessitates constant surveillance of school teachers lest they support groups that are not desirable [to the authorities], or whose activities are banned" (Nov. 7).
  • Iran to forbid universities from offering “Western” subjects – Abolfazl Hassani from Iran’s Ministry of Education said the expansion of twelve disciplines in the social sciences like law, women’s studies, human rights, management, sociology, philosophy, psychology and political sciences were to be reviewed”. Hassani further said that "Many disciplines in the humanities are based upon principles founded on materialism disbelieving the divine Islamic teachings. “Such teachings will lead to the dissemination of doubt in the foundations of religious teachings" (Oct. 26).
  • In the northern Iranian city of Tabriz, three thousand people demonstrated for the right to education in the Azeri-Turkish language and against what they called “discrimination against Azeri-Turks in Iran” (see film). The demonstrators chanted, “Everybody has the right of education in their mother tongue” and "long live Azerbaijan, to hell with whomever dislikes us”. According to one participant in the protest, Basij militiamen, many of them plainclothes, attacked protesters, beating dozens and arresting at least twelve (Aug. 8).
  • Dr. Mahdi Khamooshi, head of the Islamic Propagation Organization, called for expanding the network of religious propagation in the educational system, and especially in the schools (May 31).
  • Non-Islamic parties in kindergartens forbidden – Kindergartens in Iran received an order saying that non-Islamic parties, such as Christmas parties, are strictly prohibited. The general manager of the Iranian Health Organization, who is also in charge of this issue, announced that the license of several kindergarten had been revoked since they did not follow the rule of Islam appropriately. He added that kindergartens must make the young children acquainted with the Islamic values and tradition.

Bibles smuggled to Iran – Iranian media are reporting that lately Iran has seen a wave of smuggling of "distorted" scriptures through the western border (May 31).

Music:

  • Rappers arrested in Tehran – Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia has announced the arrest of several members of underground rap-music bands in Tehran. He claims that the rappers have been using websites and satellite networks to disseminate their "corrupt" music based on profane, western language and the only purpose of which is distancing young people from Islamic culture and inciting immodest behavior (Nov. 8).
  • Khamenei: Music is not in line with Islamic Republic’s values, and should not be practiced or taught in Iran – Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, made this comment in response to an inquiry sent by a 21-year-old follower of his, according to a report by the semi-official Fars news agency. The youth was thinking of starting music lessons, but wanted to know if they were acceptable according to Islam. “It is better that our dear youths spend their valuable time in learning science and essential useful skills, and fill their time with sports and healthy recreations,  rather than music”, Khamenei replied (Aug. 4).
  • Taxi drivers are prohibited from playing “illegal music” – The general manager for coordination of traffic and transportation announced a ban on “illegal music” to be carried out by taxi drivers. The drivers are not allowed to play the forbidden music, with heavy penalties on offenders reaching up to revocation of the taxi license or confiscation of the car (May 9).
  • Eighty young Iranians arrested for attending “illegal music concert” – Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi released a statement in which he reported the arrest of eighty young Iranian citizens, who were charged with “participation in a ceremony filled with pleasure and fooling around”. He added that “many of those arrested at this party were in an unnatural state of mind. Both locally produced and foreign-made alcohol was found on the site (May 9).

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi urged the formation of a Ministry of Virtue: “A ministry to call upon virtue and ban vice must be formed to deal with moral issues in schools, universities and media.” Makarem-Shirazi said the root cause of society’s ills was a lack of supervision on moral issues (May 9).

• Demonstrations after Friday prayer sermons in Tehran in protest against spread of improper Islamic dress code – The demonstrators urged the Government to implement Imam Khomeini’s rule on hijab (Jomhouri Islami, May 8)

April 25
a. Foreign phrases are forbidden in titles of Iranian films – The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced a new cabinet decision that prohibited any use of foreign language phrases in the titles of Iranian films. A similar order existed so far only with regard to advertisements. The order effects all movies currently produced in Iran.

b. Supreme Leader outlaws humor – Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said that imitating the distinct accents and speech characteristics of minorities and provincial city residents in Iran for the purpose of humor or mockery is prohibited by Islamic law. Persian accents and dialects differ in almost every city, with Tehran’s dialect being considered mainstream. Especially unique dialects are heard among ethnic minorities like the Kurds, the Turks etc. These unique dialects have been the source of many jokes for generations. Now, the Supreme Leader announced that “joking at the expense of the distinct accents of brave heroes who had taken part in the defense of Iranian soil in the past 100 years, is against the law of Islam”. Khamenei himself belongs to the Azeri minority, whose accent is the source of many popular jokes in Iran.

c. Men and women may not sit together at Internet cafés in Mashhad – Iran’ Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance published a series of restrictions on Internet cafés in the holy city of Mashhad. From now on, a man may not sit next to a woman at the Internet cafés in Mashhad. Furthermore, anyone who wishes to open an Internet café in Mashhad must be married, above 30, and must install video cameras throughout the place. The business and its interior must be visible from the street, and it may not be located in a passageway. Finally, an Internet café must not be located near a girls’ school.

“Moral Squads” resume activity under a new name

  •  A senior official at Tehran Police announced that the “Moral Squads”, which were active in the past throughout Iran and particularly in Tehran, would resume their activity with greater intensity. However, he said, since their name invoked negative associations, it was decided to change it to “Moral Security”. The patrols will go through shopping centers and other crowded places in Tehran in order to enforce the Islamic dress code (Feb. 2-4).
  • The Iranian Morality Police has announced a change of name. It will now be called the “Civil Rights Police.” A Majlis member stressed that the new name reflects the desire for the force to protect civil rights and fight corruption and immodesty (Nov. 10).