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Iran reconciles with music, ban on import of instruments lifted

Deutsche Presse Agentur

July 28, 199 Teheran (dpa) - Islamic Iran has lifted a ban on importing musical instruments which has been in place for more than two decades, the daily Economic Abrar reported Wednesday.

In an official circular to the customs office, the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance declared the import of instruments, including those from the West, as free, the daily reported.

The lifting of the ban was regarded as another step in the cultural reform policies adopted by the government of moderate President Mohammad Khatami since he assumed office in 1997.

Before the ban was lifted, the culture ministry and the Islamic Propaganda Office arranged two pop concerts which were very popular. In the first decade of the 1979 Islamic revolution, only march music was allowed to be played.

This served to boost morale during the 1980-88 war against Iraq. After 1989, the administration granted musicians more freedom.

Youth culture and music have gained in influence since Khatami became president.

The culture ministry has so far allowed traditional Iranian music, pop music composed and arranged inside Iran and also Western instrumental music without vocals such as classical, jazz and even instrumental pop music.

Women can play in orchestras or groups but are allowed to sing only in front of women-only audiences.


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