News / Middle East

Iranian 'Happy' Dancers Released from Jail

Reyhaneh Taravati announces she has been released in her "reihanet" Instagram post, May 21, 2014.
Reyhaneh Taravati announces she has been released in her "reihanet" Instagram post, May 21, 2014.
VOA News
Police in Tehran have released six Iranians who were arrested for posting a dance video featuring American singer Pharrell Williams's hit song "Happy" on the Internet.

Reyhaneh Taravati, one of the Iranian women arrested posted a message on Instagram Wednesday to announce the news.  Taravati, "reihanet" on instagram, posted a photo of herself and thanked the singer and all others for their support

"Hi I'm back. thank you @pharrell and everyone who cared about us love you
all so much and missed you so much," she wrote in English.

In a post to Twitter, the International Campaign for Human Rights quoted a source close to the families of the dancers saying that all people who made the video were released, except for the director."
 
The controversial video clip that prompted the arrest shows three men and three unveiled women singing and dancing to the song on rooftops and in the streets.
 

Speaking Tuesday, Tehran's police chief called the dance video a "vulgar clip which hurt public chastity." Islamic law enforced in Iran requires women to cover themselves from head to toe.
 
"Police decided to identify those involved in making that clip," Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency, in a report by the French news agency AFP.

The police chief added it took authorities just hours to identify and arrest the six dancers, who were shown on state television after their arrests as a warning to other youths. The video was uploaded in April.
 
The original clip has been removed from the Internet, but copies are still available.
 
The song, featured in the animated movie “Despicable Me 2,” has sparked similar videos  of people dancing down streets and smiling in choreographed crowds all over the world.
 
Those arrested said on the TV broadcast that they were deceived and that the video was not meant to be posted online, the AP reported.
 
“They had told us that this video won't be released anywhere and that it was for our own joy,'' one of the women said. Another detainee said: "They invited us to appear on the video to practice acting.”
 
It wasn't immediately clear if the six arrested faced criminal or civil charges or had lawyers, AP reported.
 
The arrests come as hard-liners increasingly challenge moderate President Hassan Rouhani, the AP reported. Rouhani campaigned for greater cultural and social freedoms during the presidential election last year and spoke last week about the Internet.

“We should see the cyberworld as an opportunity,'' said Rouhani, according to the official IRNA news agency and reported by the AP. "Why are we so shaky? Why don't we trust our youth?”
 
Hard-liners accuse the president of failing to take the necessary actions to stop the spread of the "decadent'' Western culture in Iran.
 
After learning of the arrest, singer Williams tweeted with his @Pharrell Twitter handle Wednesday that it is "beyond sad" the six were arrested for "trying to spread happiness."
 

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dan H from: USA
May 22, 2014 12:16 PM
If the Tehran police identified these few young people in couple of hours who have not really done anything, how come they can not find the criminals who have taken lots of money from the Iranian people and identify them for months and years?


by: Montana Man from: Montana
May 21, 2014 3:08 PM
Congratulations to these young Iranians for stepping out and spreading happiness through dance and smiles. Old school Iranians are afraid of equal rights for women, (aka decandent western ways). hahahahahah...wake up and listen to your youth Iran!


by: wojtek z from: us
May 21, 2014 2:56 PM
Its how people are, one country you can get in trouble for not beliving in same religion as they belive, another place you cant smile, some other place if they dont like you they will sent a government cleaner to quietly kill you in the way so they have their hands clean.


by: dancing{happfeet} from: United States
May 21, 2014 1:32 PM
We are aware in our country how some people outside see our culture over the top, with no morals. These young people and many more over there want grow and learn. I am proud of them, as if they were my own. ROCK ON YOU KIDS WERE GREAT. MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU CAN!


by: Marcy from: Illinois, USA
May 21, 2014 10:34 AM
This is why I am glad to be a USA citizen. I liked the video. It made me happy for them. I hope nothing happens to them!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid