Iran's most famous dancer found guilty of corrupting youths

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

— Ruling that teaching traditional Iranian dance corrupts the nation's youth, a court banned an Iranian-American dancer from leaving Iran for 10 years and from giving dance classes for life, his lawyer said Monday.

Mohammad Khordadian, Iran's best-known male dancer, was also given a 10-year suspended jail term for promoting moral corruption by holding dance classes in the United States, according to the ruling, handed down Sunday. It also barred him from attending public celebrations or weddings of people who were not his relatives for three years, lawyer Abdolrahman Rasouli said.

"Khordadian is innocent. He has done nothing wrong to deserve punishment," Rasouli said.

Khordadian, 46, told the court he never intended to corrupt anyone.

The dancer was jailed in May as he was making his first visit to Iran in 20 years.

He was released from Tehran's Evin prison on Sunday. The 10-year suspended jail term will be implemented if he is convicted again on the same charge.

Rasouli said the dancer would appeal the verdict.

"Khordadian's release from jail is an important step forward. He loves to live in Iran, but it would have been great if he had been allowed to sell his house in the States first," Rasouli said.

The lawyer quoted Khordadian as testifying: "Dancing is my job and I had no intention of promoting corruption among the youth."