U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, banning refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries, has reportedly blocked Iranian singer, actress, and cultural icon Googoosh from entering the United States for an upcoming gig.
As originally reported by Swedish news source Sveriges Radio, the singer received a call from her lawyer advising her not to return to the U.S. to conduct a concert in February as planned. One of her lawyers, Soroush Shahram, spoke with The FADER on Tuesday afternoon, and said that Googoosh was warned by her American legal counsel not to come back to the U.S. “She is a greencard holder, [and] he was very adamant about her not coming back to the states,” Shahram said.
As the details surrounding the executive order develop in Federal courts, Googoosh is “leaning towards going back, but the decision hasn’t been made,” according to Shahram.
Googoosh is widely known for her contributions to Persian pop music stemming back to the 1970s, and has starred in dozens of films. She was in Los Angeles three months into the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and decided to make her way back to Iran, where the Islamic regime under then-Ayatollah Khomeini had banned all non-religious women from singing. “Everyone told me you can't return...but I hadn't taken anything with me, so despite all the pressures, and this talk of the dangers of what would happen to me if I do, I went back,” she told Time in a 2001 interview.
Googoosh finally returned to music in 2001, leaving Iran for the first time in 22 years for a comeback tour. “I never saw it coming,” she said at the time. “I had really felt like it was all over. I worried I wouldn't have either the chance or the ability to sing again.”
Shahram said that the recent phone call brought back memories for the singer. “This was very emotional for her — it was like a flashback to nearly 40 years ago when she was en route to Tehran,” he told The FADER. “She was banned then because of religion and she feels like now it’s the same thing coming from the U.S. side. She is afraid she will be silenced again.”
Her travel barrier comes days after news broke that Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won’t be able to attend the Academy Awards for the nomination of his film, The Salesman, as Best Foreign Language Film of 2017. The film’s star Taraneh Alidoosti also plans to boycott the award ceremony in protest of the "racist ban."
OMG. Trump does not know the forces he has unleashed. Iranian diva Googoosh is stuck in London due to #MuslimBan. I expect riots in Westwood— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) January 31, 2017
Googoosh is basically #Iran’s Barbara Streisand… Now you’ve really pissed off the Iranian diaspora! https://t.co/RPycCsMTnz— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) January 31, 2017
This story was updated at 3:57 p.m. to reflect new original reporting. The original version of this story sourced a report from Swedish news source Sveriges Radio.