The Tehran Symphony Orchestra walked out of a planned performance at an international wrestling event after Iranian authorities objected to the female members of the orchestra not wearing hijabs. The orchestra was set to perform the national anthem and other patriotic pieces at the sporting event’s closing ceremonies but were told 15 minutes before the performance that the women should either be wearing hijabs or not participate. “We didn’t know who they were, or where they came from but they blocked our way even though we had permission,” conductor Ali Rahbari told the Guardian. Rather than acquiesce, Rahbari told the Iranian Student News Agency, the entire orchestra decided to leave as a sign of protest.
“The women musicians were going to perform the country’s national anthem. Why shouldn’t they? I have said many times that I was born in this country and I know very well where the red lines are. As long as I’m the director of this orchestra, I will not allow this kind of treatment,” Rahbari said.
The event was the latest public performance to be canceled over concerns about female performers, according to IB Times. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has found a rise in concert cancellations since Hassan Rouhani became Iran’s president in 2013.
Read the full story at IB Times.