Kitaro concerts in Iran canceled after U.S. nationals in the musician’s group denied visas

Kyodo

Three sold-out Kitaro concerts in Iran have been canceled after six U.S. nationals in the New Age musician’s group were refused visas, the organizer announced Thursday.

“Due to current conditions, unfortunately it is not possible to have these honorable artists in Iran,” the announcement said, referring to the soaring political tensions between Iran and the United States stemming from U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday that he will pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and implement economic sanctions against Tehran.

The organizer lamented the cancellation, as it had been working to secure Kitaro’s return to Tehran for two years.

The first of three scheduled performances was to be held Saturday.

The ticket vender promised to issue refunds as soon as possible.

“Art never should be under the shadow of politics. Kitaro is a great artist and political fights must not deprive us of hearing him in Tehran,” said Negar Mehrani, a 35-year-old musician and art student who bought her concert ticket weeks ago.

Ali Ziya, a 28-year-old university student who bought his pricey ticket with money earned through a part-time job at a coffee shop, called it cruel to cancel the performances over just a “visa excuse.”

“I was really excited to see Kitaro and have an opportunity to watch his performance,” he said.

Kitaro, a native of Aichi Prefecture, has developed a fan base in the country, having won over audiences when he performed in Tehran in October 2014.