Iran to let underground singer perform in public

TEHERAN (AFP) - An underground Iranian pop singer will be allowed to perform in public for the first time, it was reported on Sunday, prompting him to announce a concert that quickly sold out.

Xaniar Khosravi, whose work has until now been confined to the Internet and illicit venues, announced on Facebook that he would play a gig in Teheran on April 24, after the official IRNA news agency said his concert had been approved.

"Khosravi has previously released his work online, unofficially, or in other words, underground," the report said, referring to his first album, titled "28" noting that he was now "officially allowed to perform for his audience".

"I am happy to see you all," the singer said on Facebook, referring to those who managed to snap up tickets for his unexpected and oversubscribed gig, which left many admirers disappointed.

"I am so sad I couldn't get a ticket. I wanna die," one unlucky fan wrote on the singer's Facebook page.

Iran's morality police have previously warned underground musicians not to perform without permission and to "channel their work through legal and real networks".

Under Iran's Islamic sharia law, musicians must be approved by the culture ministry, which checks whether a song's lyrics and music can be deemed in line with the country's moral values.

But many bands release albums without seeking permission.