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Abbas Daneshi has resigned as head of Qom's department of culture (file photo)

A senior cultural official has resigned after protests by conservative religious authorities over a concert in Iran’s holy Shi'ite city of Qom where many of Iran's senior ayatollahs are based.

Iranian media report that Abbas Daneshi, head of the department of culture in Qom, resigned due to discontent among senior theologians over the event held last month.

In recent months, senior clerics and hard-liners have criticized the government for allowing concerts in religious cities that host shrines of revered Shi'ite saints.

The Culture Ministry said last week that it would not permit concerts in Qom and Mashhad.

Many concerts in other Iranian cities, including the capital, Tehran, have been canceled in recent months due to pressure from hard-liners.

Based on reporting by AP, BBC and Fararu
Iranian journalist Ehsan Mazandarani

Iran has temporarily released a journalist for medical treatment after he suffered from health problems following a hunger strike.

Ehsan Mazandarani, editor in chief of the reformist Farhikhtegan daily, was arrested in November 2015 and sentenced in April to seven years in prison after being convicted of charges that included "acting against national security."

His prison sentence was reportedly later reduced to two years.

Mazandarani's wife, Maliheh Hosseini, told the semiofficial ILNA news agency that a doctor at Tehran's Evin prison reported concerns over the journalist's health.

Mazandarani was previously arrested in 2013 and held at Evin prison over alleged ties with "counterrevolutionary" media.

Journalists in Iran frequently face state pressure and prosecution.

Based on reporting by AFP, ISNA, and ILNA

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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