Iranian hard-liners are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how they blew the May 19 presidential elections. They have claimed that the vote was rigged and have been in denial over pragmatist incumbent Hassan Rouhani’s sweeping victory, but whispers of another sort have also been heard. Some believe a rapper may have been the reason hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi lost his shot at the presidency.
It was a strange sight for Iranians: the rapper Amir Hossein Maghsoudlou, with sleeves of tattoos extending to his hands, sitting beside an awkwardly smiling Raisi, who was dressed in somber black robes. The rapper, also known as Amir Tataloo, is famous for his songs about life and love, but it is his bad boy appearance that leaves his 4 million Instagram and 1.2 million Facebook fans, called Tatalees, swooning and conservatives shaking their heads. At one point, the rapper had long hair, a chin piercing, and to top it all off, he sometimes accessorized with a cross. All in all, a tough sell for Iran’s hard-liners.