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Iran's political landscape has in recent weeks witnessed a turn of events that few observers would ever have anticipated. In addition to the widening array of non-conservative opponents, the Ebrahim Raisi administration now also faces an outcry from a key segment of its support network: influential Shiite eulogists.
Eulogists, or religious singers, perform at mourning ceremonies marking the anniversaries of the martyrdoms of Shiite Imams. Such events can draw thousands of worshipers who openly weep and rhythmically beat their chests in remembrance of revered Shiite religious figures.
As a whole, eulogists have wielded increasing political influence under the Islamic Republic. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, state-sanctioned religious singers have emerged as a powerful weapon deployed by the authorities. They have routinely been used to...
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