[VIDEO] Yes They Can! Hassan Rouhani Music Video: Iran’s answer to Obama Personality-Cult PresidencyPosted: December 1, 2013
An MTV-style video shows Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, riding high after 100 days in office
Colin Freeman, and Naeim Karimi report: With its gentle acoustic guitar and message of tolerance and world peace, the MTV-style video has the feel of a celebrity charity song. But as a succession of young men and women sing in front of the microphones, the presence of a sombre, white-turbaned cleric shows that this is no routine pop production.
Still triumphant from his recent nuclear deal with the West, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, got a new starring role last week – this time in a music video marking his 100th day in office. Given that musical instruments are banned on state television, its depiction of a male guitarist an d female drummer would itself be enough to annoy the Islamic Republic’s hardliners. But the lyrics, too, could not be further from the “Death to America” rhetoric associated with Iran during the last 30 years.
“Let our hearts be cleaned of resentment, let conciliation and friendship substitute animosity,” the song goes. “The road ahead is long and I am a new traveller.” Shot by the team that did Mr Rouhani’s summer election campaign, the video, entitled “New Traveler”, attracted nearly half a millions viewers in its first day online, many of them noting its clear similarities to Barack Obama’s 2008 “Yes We Can” film.
And much though Iran’s hardliners may resent it, right now the comparison seems justified.
For 100 days in, Mr Rouhani is riding high on the same kind of popularity that Mr Obama enjoyed at the start of his first term, with reform-minded Iranians finally hopeful that the country is heading for better times.
Chants of ‘Death to America’ have been part of Iranian public life for almost 35 years. But the new wave of politicians in Tehran is trying to change that, write Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat
Damien McElroy, and Ahmad Vahdat report: An attempt by Iran‘s reformist president Hassan Rouhani to abolish the chant “Death to America” as part of his diplomatic drive to improve relations with the US and the West, has spurred an angry backlash among his country’s hardline establishment.
The slogan – “Marg bar Amrika” in Farsi – has rung out on official occasions in Tehran ever since the country’s Islamic revolution in 1979, born during the seizure by students of the US embassy and the 444-day hostage crisis that followed.
Beloved by hardliners, it became one of the unifying political messages of the regime and would be broadcast every Friday on national television and be echoed at many mosques after Friday prayers. Read the rest of this entry »