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Iranian Presidential Candidate Meets Underground Rapper

Reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi

Reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi

In the course of his presidential campaign, Iranian reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi has apparently been courting the votes of young, urban Iranians -- most recently by meeting with rappers and pop singers.

News website aftabnews reported that one performer who met the candidate was rapper Sasy Mankan, identified as part of the country’s underground music movement. (One of Mankan’s videos can be seen here.) That makes the meeting a highly unusual choice for a politician, most of whom have no contact with underground figures.

Another website reports that some of Karrubi's close aids had advised him not to meet the rapper, because it could cause him to lose the support among observant Muslims who consider Western music un-Islamic -- in particular the relatives of "martyrs,” or victims of the Iran-Iraq war.

Karrubi has also made another attention-getting move during his campaign; Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, reported that he took a stand against President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust against European Jews. Without naming Ahmadinejad, Karrubi said during a meeting with supporters: “I already said that two years ago that the talk about the Holocaust not existing is [meaningless]; the Holocaust definitely took place.”

However, Karrubi went on to say what matters is that the Holocaust was a reality, and that it is unimportant whether 6,000 people died or 6 million.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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