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Vahdat Hall played host to the car manufacturer Renault Pars for the unveiling of its new Talisman model.
Vahdat Hall played host to the car manufacturer Renault Pars for the unveiling of its new Talisman model.

Unveiling of Renault Car at Vahdat Hall Censured

Cultural official: Each event should be organized at a venue compatible with the occasion

Unveiling of Renault Car at Vahdat Hall Censured

The bustling ceremony at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on September 25 for the unveiling of Talisman, Renault Pars' latest car seems to have caused a stir among artists and cultural officials.
On that evening, Vahdat Hall played host to the car manufacturer Renault Pars for the unveiling of its new Talisman model. And Tehran Symphony Orchestra gave a performance to hail the event.
"I believe the hall's stage should only be allocated for artistic performances. Unveiling ceremonies of such a kind should find other venues," Bahram Jamali, former CEO of Roudaki Foundation, the governing body of the hall, told ILNA.
Ali Akbar Safipour took over as the head of the foundation in June.
"The car unveiling was not planned when I was in office.  The hall used to have only artistic programs. The unveiling project is a recent introduction and I had no part in it," Jamali said.
"First, we should make sure if Vahdat Hall has what it takes to enter commercial interaction. What are the hall's potentials? When there are options like the auditoriums in Milad Tower, is it justifiable to give Vahdat a business slant?"
At least, the car could have been showcased somewhere else, not on the hall stage! The stage is in a fragile condition and technically should not have borne the car's weight. "It is a venue for concerts only," Jamali stressed.
Safipour argued that the foundation let out the hall to the carmaker for the launch to cover part of the Vahdat Hall expenses. However, Jamali dismissed the idea of "bringing business in art" and said such concepts should be defined separately.
He also criticized the stance of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance as "vague "in its dealings with Vahdat Hall. The ministry needs to also clarify its financial dealings with all cultural venues such as Azadi Tower and Vahdat Hall.

  Call for Transparency
"We hope there will be transparency, but I believe, business projects should not be brought on the cultural stage," Jamali insisted.
Vahdat Hall should have its own funds so that "pecuniary needs and compulsions do not steer the hall's activities."
So far, no budget has been earmarked for Roudaki Foundation and Vahdat Hall. Therefore, they will face financial difficulties," Jamali admitted.
Seyyed Mohammad Beheshti, member of the Supreme Council for Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said, “Each event should be organized at a venue compatible with the occasion."
Beheshti, who also is head of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT), added, “Given its cultural legacy, is Vahdat Hall really the proper place for launching cars?”
He urged the Culture Ministry to respond to the criticisms.
Ramin Seddiqi, the director of Hermes Records, a Tehran-based recording and publishing firm, registering his protest, said he will not attend any program at Vahdat Hall in future.

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