Iran’s orchestra disbands

TEHRAN, Iran – The Iranian national symphony orchestra has been disbanded for lack of funds, musicians said Monday, another likely sign of the effects of Western economic sanctions.

Orchestra members told the semiofficial ILNA news agency Monday that they have not rehearsed together and have not been paid for three months.

The orchestra was reactivated just last year, after a two-year break.

The step is likely tied to heightening economic woes in Iran because of government mismanagement and Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear development.

Iran’s orchestra is one of the oldest in the Middle East, founded in the 1930s. Arsalan Kamkar, a violinist in the orchestra, said the shutdown shows Iran’s rulers are not favorable to the orchestra, because its budget is a “small portion of Iran’s income from oil.”

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