Bashir Biazar
FILE: Bashir Biazar was summoned and detained by French police last Tuesday.
An Iranian official and cultural expert has criticized the French government's arrest of Iranian music maestro and cultural figure Bashir Biazar for speaking out against the war on Gaza, saying his detention under shadowy circumstances exposes France's double standards on freedom of expression.

Biazar, a former production manager at the Music and Song Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), was summoned and detained by French police last Tuesday. He has been vocal in his support for the Palestinian cause and in highlighting Israeli crimes in Gaza through social media.

His social media content has consistently focused on cultural issues related to the Islamic world and the Palestinian cause, which the French authorities now seem to be using as a pretext for his arrest and potential deportation.

Kazem Gharibabadi, the secretary of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, has condemned the move by the French police, stating that France is trying to deport the Iranian national in violation of his right to freedom of expression.

In an interview with Mehr News Agency, Mohammad Mahdi Naraghian, former head of the Music and Song Center at IRIB, said the charges against Biazar appear to stem from his social media posts in defense of the Palestinian people.

"A country that claims to advocate for freedom of expression does not even tolerate a few posts and stories in a virtual page in another language, and reacts in such a serious manner," Naraghian said.

He added that French authorities claim Biazar's social media messages are a threat to France's national security, even though the content has been posted in Persian and Biazar does not have any French followers on his page.

"It seems that they are concerned about the role modeling of this type of media activists in Europe. A model that creates content with just a page on social media and a smartphone, and has the ability to generate a flow of information in his own right," the cultural expert noted.

Naraghian, currently a deputy director at the Islamic Development Organization of Iran, revealed that a preliminary deportation order has been issued against Biazar, and that his request for release from detention pending the legal process has been rejected by the French court.

The Iranian journalist has been transferred to a detention center near Paris, which is typically used to hold illegal immigrants awaiting deportation, he said.

He suggested that Biazar's detention appears to be influenced by pressure from Iranian opposition groups active in France.