Some Iranian media report that an Iftar dinner by Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi was cancelled after most invited guests who were artists declined to attend.
Sharq newspaper and others reported Saturday that the Ramadan dinner, or Iftar, scheduled for Friday was cancelled after “99 percent” of artists, actors and film industry personalities declined invitations using various excuses, such as the Covid pandemic, travel or other reasons.
The government’s official news website IRNA strongly denied the reports as “complete fabrication”, insisting that the Iftar was cancelled due to high air pollution in Tehran. IRNA added that the dinner was supposed to be served in an open courtyard of the presidential complex but due to pollution it was decided to hold indoors, but the space was too small for accommodating 170 guests.
Sharq, however, emphasized that the real reason for the cancellation was the refusal of most invitees to attend.
The Iftar invitation by the president for artists and cinema figures has become an annual tradition in recent years. In 2018, many declined the invitation by then-president Hassan Rouhani, saying that he had not fulfilled his election promises.
Raisi’s leadership is being sharply criticized in the media, as Iran’s economic conditions deteriorate, and food prices continue to rise. Reports say that many working class people cannot afford even bread and buy it with a promise to bakeries to pay later.