Iran’s supreme leader has an improving message for western music

Iran’s supreme leader has an improving message for western music


norman lebrecht

June 23, 2014

The following messages appeared this morning on Ayatollah Khamenei’s twitter feed.

Like all celebrity tweets, they were almost certainly not by the man himself. Nor do they constitute a particularly profound contribution on his part to World Music Day.

But they do reflect a fundamentalist mindset that is worth understanding.

Here are the tweets:





You know that I’m anti-western, yet by reasoning I confirm the positive qualities of West; one of which is issue of .


It’s true that in West there’s decadent for dancing & debauchery,but instructive &meaningful music also have long existed there.


Apart from decadent ,there’re some types of music in West that a wise transcendental person can enjoy it in concerts.


In West,there’s no shortage of that saved a nation or led intellectual groups 2the right path;West had &currently has such qualities.


Instead of using in course of moral decadence,direct it towards noble goals; if so,music can be called holy.


What the Ayatollah seems to want is more Beethoven and Verdi, less Bieber and Lady Gaga. Nothing wrong with that.


  • Michael Endres says:

    Good to hear ! Armanidinnerjacket ( the former ex president whose name always escapes me ) wouldn’t have approved….

  • Martin Haub says:

    If I recall, there was a rather nasty 20th c. dictator who had similar musical ideals: Stalin. I think Hitler, too, would have approved the comments by the Ayatollah.

  • Mikko says:

    I suspect Khamenei would find all kinds of decadence in Verdi’s operas.

  • anonymus says:

    Bad people also like good things and good people also like bad things. What do we do now? Can I trade my yellow rubber duck for your red plastic shovel?

  • It seems that the West can only choose between decadence and dictatorship.

    According to some underground Iranian rumours, mr Khamenei has come to his relatively positive judgement of Western classical music after having watched a video of Strauss’ “Salome” several times.