Hear the Pop Singer Arrested in Iran

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On Wednesday, Mir Hossein Mousavi released a statement in which he declared the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was “illegitimate,” called for continuing protests, and demanded the release of opposition supporters detained by the security forces.

One of those detainees appears to be Hossein Zaman, an Iranian pop singer. He appears on one list of detained Iranians. Various Twitter users have cited him as one of the many reformists detained. And a Tehran filmmaker tells me that he is still in prison. There’s little publicly available information—especially in English—about his arrest or current whereabouts.

Zaman, who once served in the Revolutionary Guard, has long identified with the forces for reform in Iran. An article that appeared in the Iranian Times in 2000 noted that Zaman had performed at “political events” for the reformists. In 2002, according to Agence France Presse, he blasted the country’s culture minister for not defending the rights of artists after he was blocked from performing near a shrine of a descendant of Mohammad. “It seems that certain people signed a petition during Friday prayers seeking to stop the concert,'” he told an Iranian newspaper, “and the judiciary thought it best to stop it.” The next year, according to AFP, Zaman ran for a city council position in Tehran. And his music has been banned from state-controlled radio and television.

Throughout his musical career, Zaman has received little, if any, attention outside Iran. But a YouTube search turns up a video posted in 2007 for a Zaman song called “Parandeh.”


At the White House press briefing on Wednesday, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if President Barack Obama would join Mousavi in urging the Iranian government to release its political prisoners. Gibbs said that “the President strongly believes in the right for people to gather in protest without fear of harm or violence.” He added,   “I think I’ll leave it at that.”

And “parendeh” is farsi for “bird.”

You can follow David Corn’s postings and media appearances via Twitter.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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