Black metal act Kaaboos and its sole member, Atash, has been ordered by to leave Norway by its government and return to his country of birth, Iran. This is despite the fact Atash claim that his returning to Iran would not be safe and his life could be in danger due to his metal music associations.
Heavy metal, punk and rock are considered blasphemous and are forbidden in Iran. Being associated with this type of music can lead to severe punishment, imprisonment and even death.
In a letter to the Norwegian government in the hope of an appeal, Atash stated: “I am an activist and a musician whose face and identity are already recognised by the Iranian Government. I have partaken in multiple acts of protests against the Islamic government – most notably, my music performance outside the Iranian embassy on Friday 13th October 2023, which has since had headlines across multiple respected media sources. My face is all over the internet.“Upon return to Iran my life would be in great danger due to the recognition I have received from the governmental people, also known as Basij.
“While discussing with my lawyer about appealing the case results and entering court, I have spent all of my savings from work in order to pay the NOK 50,000 cost of this process. With a deadline of 10th of January, the court date will not be announced and under no circumstance is it possible for me to return to Iran and attend court later in the year. In addition to the notorious nature of my case, it wouldn’t be possible for me to return to Iran due to my mandatory military services after the age of 18 (obliged for all men in Iran) which I’ve been absent from since I left Iran.
“Since May 2020, due to being away from Iran I have been absent from the military for over 3 years which results in punishment and imprisonment and losing my passport upon arrival and not being able to travel outside of Iran until service is completed. And in regards to my activities in the metal genre and community and the Iranian embassy holding personal information, arrest and additional punishments certainly await me upon arrival. I am certain to be facing execution.“Therefore, I kindly ask for your support and help. It seems as if the UDI and UNE do not understand the severity of the situation in Iran, I cannot go back to my country safely. I have found my home and peace here in Norway, I work for 80% of my time as a waiter and bartender at a restaurant in Drammen and I strive to continue to work on my music for as long as I am alive.”
Atash concluded the letter by writing “I beg you to spare my parents the thought of losing a son.”
Kaaboos recently performed during a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in Oslo, Norway. The protest was against the cultural totalitarianism of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its strict restrictions and the banning of forms of cultural expression such as heavy metal.
Kaaboos (کابوس) stands for “Nightmare” in Farsi/Persian, main man Atash, whose name translates to “Fire”, explained the reason he left Iran originally, stating: “The reason why I left Iran at the age of 16, was due to the lack of freedom in my country. Religious restrictions on expression and most importantly belief among many more, were what held me back from actually pursuing my passion and living a fulfilling life. Iran is a country of no sense and peace, being forced to go by the Islamic rules was by no means a choice of mine. But due to the hardcore punishments and torture as a result of not doing so, I had no chance but to leave home and properly experience life elsewhere.”