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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid