Iran arrests singer for encouraging veil removal

Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

TEHRAN: Iranian police arrested pop singer Mehdi Yarrahi on Monday for releasing a song against women´s compulsory wearing of the veil, the judiciary said.

A day earlier, the judiciary´s Mizan Online website announced that a “legal case” had been filed against Yarrahi “following the release of an illegal song which defies the morals and customs of the Islamic society.”

The singer has now been “arrested by order of the Tehran prosecutor,” Mizan Online said on Monday.

The action comes almost a year after the September 16 death in custody of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, triggered months of protests around the country.

Amini had been detained for alleged breach of the Islamic republic´s strict dress code requiring that a woman´s head and neck be covered.

Yarrahi was defiant after announcement of the “legal case”. “Don´t cry, I am the nightmare of this judge”, he said in a message posted on X, formerly Twitter, adding that “let´s continuously talk about the anniversary of Mahsa Amini´s murder.”

Authorities have contested accusations by Amini´s family that she died from beating. Yarrahi, 41, on Friday released the song called “Roosarito”, which means “Your Headscarf” in Farsi, expressing support for last year´s protest movement.

Yarrahi´s three-minute video clip incorporated the protest movement´s slogan, “Woman, life, freedom.” He called on women to “take off their (head)scarves”, and the video included short clips of several women dancing with their hair uncovered.

Mizan had said the legal measures against Yarrahi will also cover another “controversial song” he released in October. Titled “Soroode Zan” or “Woman´s Anthem”, it became a feature of the protest movement, particularly in universities.