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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 19:16 GMT
Iran president bans Western music
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad's ruling will affect artists like George Michael
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned Western and "indecent" music from state-run TV and radio stations.

The ban follows a ruling in October by the Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, which he heads, to ban Western songs from the airwaves.

"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required," a statement from the council said.

Songs by artists such as Eric Clapton and George Michael will be affected.

'Lack of knowledge'

Songs such as Clapton's Rush, Michael's Careless Whisper and The Eagles' Hotel California are often used as background music on Iranian TV programmes.

Songs by American easy-listening artist Kenny G are also often featured.

"This is terrible," said Iranian guitarist Babak Riahipour, a musician whose songs featured on state TV and radio. "The decision shows a lack of knowledge and experience."

Mr Ahmadinejad became president this year promising to reverse a recent series of reforms and return Iran to the ultra-conservative atmosphere of the 1979 revolution.

"Supervision of content from films, TV series and their voice-overs is emphasized in order to support spiritual cinema and to eliminate trite and violence," the council said on its website in reference to the October ruling.

Mr Ahmadinejad's programme has included sacking more moderate members of the government and replacing them with ex-military commanders and politically inexperienced religious leaders.

In recent weeks he launched an outspoken attack on Israel, calling for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".

He also claimed the Nazi Holocaust, which killed six million Jews, was a "myth".

See President Ahmadinejad speaking at a rally


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