February 14, 2016


To enlist Iran's youth, Islamic Republic adds a nationalist pitch (Scott Peterson, FEBRUARY 14, 2016, CS Monitor)

In awe, both supportive and ridiculing, Mr. Tataloo's fans have watched his transformation from a flamboyant pop star operating below the radar of Iran's strict cultural rules - he was once arrested by the "Moral Security" police - to one who embraces Iran's ruling system and is helping it modernize its message by appealing more to young people's nationalism than religious values.

His transformation coincides with renewed efforts to update the popular legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, which carefully choreographs its official cultural output.

Key players in Iran's ruling system, from the Revolutionary Guard to pro-revolution filmmakers, have emphasized appealing to youths for at least 15 years, and the move toward greater nationalism goes back a decade. But internal and external forces have accelerated the trend, say analysts, who point to the fight against the Islamic State group, last summer's landmark nuclear deal, and the desire by authorities to remedy the distrust - especially among young Iranians - that remains from violent protests over the disputed election in 2009.

The trend has also received fresh recognition from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is urging Iranians to vote in parliamentary elections this month - even if they do not believe in the ruling system, or in him.

Posted by at February 14, 2016 8:34 AM