An Iranian Rapper Is Campaigning for a Hardline Cleric

  • The rapper's music is banned from domestic release for 'corrupting' youth
  • Social media fans question his motives

The last person you might expect an ultra-conservative Islamic cleric who oversees Iran's largest and holiest religious foundation to team up with is an underground rapper covered in tattoos.

Yet Ebrahim Raisi, the main opponent against incumbent moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani in Friday's presidential election, has been embraced by Amir Tataloo—a rap artist who boasts more than 4 million followers on Instagram.

A post shared by Amir Tataloo (@amirtatalooi) on

It's an odd alliance, especially given that Tataloo's music is banned from release in Iran. The 33-year-old, born Amirhossein Maghsoudloo, has been detained at least twice in the past four years by security forces on charges related to "encouraging the corruption of the youth," according to the semi-official Fars News Agency and the semi-official JameJam Online.

Some Iranians have taken to social media using the hashtag #tataloo_raisi (تتلو_رئیسی#) to question why the rapper would encourage his fans to back a religious conservative candidate.

One meme juxtaposes a recent image of Tataloo and Raisi with an older photo of Tataloo with scantily clad women. 

Reformist MP Mahmoud Sadeghi said the move by Raisi to publicly harness Tataloo's support was "Machiavellian" and exploits "people's poverty and distress."

With Iranians going to the polls on Friday to elect a new president, Raisi win soon find out if his taste in rappers has paid off. 

Khoone Khoobe by Amir Tataloo

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