The Rouhani Government is on the defensive over its promise to open up Iranian culture and society, with Parliament issuing a warning to Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ali Jannati.
MPs summoned Jannati for questioning and criticism over his approach to media and the Internet, blaming him for an approach that allowed “liberal” — rather than “revolutionary” — outlets to operate.
At the end of the session, Jannati was shown a “yellow card”, a warning that if he continued to transgress, he could be summoned for interrogation leading to a “red card” and dismissal.
President Rouhani reacted on Wednesday, saying the yellow card was “not a worry”.
The President said, “Some officials have obviously not heard the people’s voice in the election. I promise the people to stop extremism in Iran.”
In the last month, a number of cultural activists, including cyber-activists and musicians, have been detained. MPs, the military, and clerics have all used warnings about the “sedition” after the dispute 2009 Presidential election to warn Rouhani not to move on his campaign promise to free political prisoners, including detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
Rouhani insisted on Tuesday that he would continue to pursue the policy of openness. Meeting artists, musicians, actors, and writers, he said, “Artists are not a threat, and art without freedom is meaningless.”
He added, “We should reach out to those artists who have been isolated in the past few years, getting them more involved in society and preventing censorship.
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.