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Iranian Pop Star Says He's Retiring From Performing After Being Barred From Leaving Country.

Iranian pop star Babak Jahanbakhsh says he is retiring from performing after officials refused to allow him to leave the country amid protests triggered by the September death of a young woman while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.
Jahanbakhsh wrote on his Instagram page late on January 10 that being blocked from leaving the country is not important, "the important thing is that there is no motivation left to do many things." “Here is no longer my place. I can't live in this heavy atmosphere full of anger, hatred, death and pain,” Jahanbakhsh added. Since the start of daily protests in mid-September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, several Iranian artists and prominent public figures have been summoned by the police or arrested, including actress Taraneh Alidoosti and director Hamid Pourazari. The criticism comes amid one of the deepest challenges to the Islamic regime since the revolution in 1979. The protests erupted after Amini died while in detention for allegedly wearing her head scarf improperly. Several celebrities, including soccer star Ali Daei, have been interrogated and have had their passports confiscated after showing support for the protests. One of the actors, Hossein Mohammadi, 26, faces a death sentence after he was reportedly tortured into making a confession to security forces who were looking to pin the blame on him and 15 others for the death of a member of the Basij paramilitary force during a demonstration. Since Amini's death, more than 500 people have been killed in the police crackdown, according to rights groups. Several thousand more have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

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