Prominent Iranian theatre director Maryam Kazemi and theatre manager Saeed Asadi were arrested in Tehran “on the orders of the judiciary,” a senior official at Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said.
The arrests followed the sharing on social media of a trailer for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” showing men and women dancing. The official said the authorities took issue with the “type of music played” and the actors’ “movements,” not with the play.
At the very time it uses raw state power to restrict artistic creativity and impose its version of acceptable behaviour on its citizens, Tehran continues to blame the outside world for the sanctions it faces.
So, Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, ironically denounces US President Donald Trump for “pursuing the logic of power.”
Salehi made his comments when he spoke at length to the Associated Press about Iran’s efforts to build a new nuclear facility to produce more-advanced centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. He claimed that Iran wasn’t about to start the mass production of advanced centrifuges, which would violate the multilateral nuclear deal.
“This does not mean that we are going to produce these centrifuges now. This is just a preparation,” he said. “In case Iran decides to start producing in mass production such centrifuges, (we) would be ready for that.”
His assurances could not be less convincing. Such arguments are even less credible coming from a government that arrests artists for their role in staging a Shakespearean play.