Iran president Rowhani's music video becomes YouTube hit
The New York Times in Tehran
It might not make MTV, but a music video has surfaced honouring Iran's president, Hassan Rowhani, and showing him alongside musical instruments - which are banned on state television - and women singing.
The video is called Nosafar (New Traveller) after a sentence by legendary Persian poet Hafez that translates as "the road ahead is long and I am a new traveller."
Produced in black and white, it shows Rowhani addressing the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at his inauguration in August, with Iranians in a split screen speaking and singing the president's words.
The video was released on Wednesday on Iranian social media and YouTube, where it got around 400,000 views in 24 hours, said its director, Hossein Dehbashi.
The text focuses on Iran's greatness and includes mention of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, toppled in 1953 in a coup organised by the CIA.
It also speaks of change.
"I feel the weight of these votes and this endorsement," Rowhani says in the video, with Iranians echoing him. "I seek refuge in God and God alone. May God assist you. Tomorrow is definitely bright."
Debashi said: "We made the video for free, but Mr Rowhani's office has signed off on it."
The video has yet to be shown on state-run television, which is controlled by Rowhani's hard-line opponents, but can be seen on the president's personal website, Rouhani.ir.
Dehbashi acknowledges certain similarities between the Rowhani video and the "Yes We Can" video from Barack Obama's 2008 US presidential campaign but said there were many videos that had people reciting famous speeches.
In 2010 Dehbashi, who also directed Rowhani's campaign video, spent two months in the Supermax prison in Baltimore, where he was interrogated by the FBI, officially over his residence papers; Dehbashi cited political reasons.
There is a thriving music video industry in Iran, where pop singers record songs the state television's censors will never play. Instead the videos are broadcast in Iran by foreign Persian-language music channels.