In the teaser trailer for his upcoming song, Sasan Heydari is depicted singing next to American porn actress Alexis Texas. (Screengrab)

March 11, 2021

Morality police in Iran have arrested several people in connection with a viral music video featuring singer-in-exile Sasy Mankan and an American porn star.

Iranian media outlets linked to the security services reported this morning that members of what they described as “the Sassan Heydari Yafteh gang” had been arrested inside the country.

The detentions reportedly took place on the orders of the Moral Security Court and related to the “obscene content” of the music video published last week.

Sasy Mankan, real name Sassan Heydari Yafteh, 32, had an underground music career in Iran before leaving for the US in 2009. He is popular with teenagers and has a huge Instagram following.

Last week the star released a provocative teaser trailer for his new track, Tehran Tokyo, in which he danced and sang alongside American actress Alexis Texas. The video garnered millions of views in 24 hours and caused a sensation in Iran.

Politicians and state-aligned media pundits reacted hysterically, demanding the video be censored lest it “present pornography to children”. Broadcasting the song has been banned in Iran and the Iranian Audio-Visual Media Regulatory Body issued a statement decrying the video’s “outright violation of child protection guidelines”.

Today Fars News Agency and other state-linked news websites announced that on the orders of the Moral Security Court, various “agents” of Sasy Mankan inside Iran had been arrested.

The court, Fars’s judicial correspondent wrote, “reassured families concerned about the upbringing of their children that, in accordance with its legal mission and in response to their demands, it would not appease criminals who target the mental health and innocence of our children and adolescents”.

Those arrested were alleged to have been involved in the production of “pornographic videos” as well as “gambling and betting sites” under Sasy Mankan’s management. No further details of the individuals or the charges against them have yet been released.

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.