George Michael, Eric Clapton and Kenny G. will no longer be heard on Iranian airwaves after hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a decree banning Western music from the country's radio and TV stations.
The official IRAN Persian daily reported Monday that Ahmadinejad, as head of Iran's Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, ordered the enacting of an October ruling by the council for Western songs to be banned.
"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required," according to a statement on the council's official Web site.
Ahmadinejad's order means the IRIB must execute the decree and prepare a report on its implementation within six months, according to the newspaper.
"This is terrible," said Iranian guitarist Babak Riahipour whose music was occasionally played on state radio and television. "The decision shows a lack of knowledge and experience."
Songs such as George Michael's "Careless Whisper," Eric Clapton's "Rush" and "Hotel California" by the Eagles regularly accompany Iranian TV and programs, as do tunes by saxophonist Kenny G.
Campaigned on ultraconservative platform
Following eight years of reformist-led rule in Iran, Ahmadinejad won office in August on a platform of reverting to ultraconservative principals promoted by Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Since then, he has jettisoned Iran's moderation in foreign policy and pursued a purge in the government, replacing pragmatic veterans with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners.
He has also issued stinging criticisms of Israel, called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map" and described the Nazi Holocaust as a "myth."
Concerns are high over Iran's nuclear program, with the United States accusing Tehran of pursuing an atomic weapons program. Iran denies the claims.
Ahmadinejad also promised to confront what he called the Western cultural invasion and promote Islamic values during his presidential campaign.
Western music, films and clothing are widely available in Iran, and hip-hop tunes can be heard on Tehran's streets, blaring from car speakers or from music shops. Bootleg videos and DVDs of films banned by the state are widely available in the black market.
Films also to be censored
The latest media ban also includes censorship of content of films.
"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 in a statement on its Web site explaining its October ruling.
The council has also issued a ban on foreign movies that promote "arrogant powers," an apparent reference to the United States.