Entertainment News

  • 22 May 2014, 9:44

Iran Releases Happy Video Dancers On Bail

Six Iranians arrested for filming themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams' hit Happy have been released on bail, according to reports.

Tehran-based fashion photographer Reihane Taravati, who was arrested along with her friends, posted on Instagram: "Hi I'm back."

She was allegedly shown on state television repenting for the home-made video that was posted on YouTube last month and shared widely on Facebook and Instagram.

Police chief Hossein Sajedinia had called the video a "vulgar clip which hurt public chastity".

The video was recorded on a smartphone and showed three unveiled girls dancing in a room, on rooftops and in alleys, alongside three young men.

The clip has gone viral and has been viewed more than 500,000 times.

Ms Taravati also thanked Williams for showing support during her brief detention.

The singer had protested over the treatment of the young Iranians on Twitter, saying: "It's beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness."

The Iranian authorities are yet to confirm the dancers' release on bail.

But according to sources on social media close to the youths, the clip's director remains in custody, facing an array of charges including "deceiving" the group.

The reports of their release came amid an apparent message of support for the group by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who is in China on an official visit.

"Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviours caused by joy," a Twitter account believed to be run by his close aides, @HassanRouhani, quoted the president from a speech in June 2013 shortly after his election.

Mr Rouhani, a self-declared moderate, has long claimed to be for more social freedoms in Iran. But his push has been opposed by traditionalists and ultra-conservatives that hold sway in the establishment.

The report of their arrest on Tuesday sparked a media frenzy and a storm on social media, with many Iranians expressing shock and some observers questioning whether it was a "crime to be happy in Iran".

In the video, the girls are seen not properly observing the hijab, a series of rules that oblige women in Iran to cover their hair and much of their body when outside.

Dancing is prohibited in the Islamic republic, while mingling with the opposite sex is strictly frowned upon.

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