A famous Iranian religious singer – known in Iran as eulogists or maddah – has been shot dead in the northwestern city of Tabriz in East Azarbaijan province.
The body of Habil Afaq-Azar was found on Thursday with bullet wounds in one of the neighborhoods of the city. Apparently, he was killed somewhere else, and his body was dumped there.
Following the murder of Afaq-Azar, Mahmoud Hosseini, the director general of The Islamic advertisement Organization of East Azarbaijan, praised him as one best of “maddahs” of the city, who "had made numerous concert tours to Turkey and Azerbaijan."
No details about the killer(s) or the motivation of the assassination has been immediately available, but maddahs are usually affiliated with the regime and promote its propaganda in Iran and abroad.
Earlier in the month, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry announced that 39 people were arrested in connection to an Iranian "espionage network" as part of a special operation to uncover subversive activities in the country “under the guise of religion”.
Under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, maddahs who used to sing tragic songs in graveyards for families of the deceased or chant tragic stories during the mourning month of Muharram to earn a living, are now the Islamic Republic’s political theoreticians, influential figures in political groups and government offices. They can put anybody’s business on fast track, albeit against a fee, using their influence as individuals close to Khamenei.