Iran’s deputy culture minister for artistic affairs says the government only supports artists who promote the Islamic Republic’s values and policies.
In an interview with the government’s official news website IRNA on Tuesday, Mahmoud Salari said "I am not a representative of the artists, I am a representative of the government of the Islamic Republic."
He noted that the artistic department of the ministry is not responsible for artists who seek their own artistic values, adding that the department does not back artists who would act against the policies of the Islamic Republic.
The government’s money is only for those artists who work in line with the charter of the Islamic arts devised by the founder of the Islamic Republic Rouhollah Khomeini, he elaborated, adding that "anyone who wants to insult the Islamic Republic should take money from the people who ask them to do so."
Films, music and books go through a rigorous censorship process in Iran and often have to change and re-write segments to be accepted by religious-political censors. In Iran’s closed economy, most artistic creations also depend on government financing.
On Saturday, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaili threatened filmmakers and actors with a work ban if they criticize Islamic Republic entities and officials, adding that Iranian films cannot participate in foreign film festivals if they are not authorized to be shown in Iran.
Iran’s Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib also warned government’s critics on Thursday against writing statements and open letters to criticize the current situation in the country.