Iran Arrests Young Iranians For Making A Pharrell “Happy” Video

The video reportedly got 30,000 views in four days before being taken down.


Police released the six Iranians on Wednesday. Read more:

2. Iranian police arrested 6 youths Tuesday featured in a popular YouTube video of them dancing in Tehran to Pharell’s song “Happy,” and forced the arrested youth to appear on state TV for an interrogation, Bloomberg News reported.

In the footage, the arrested Iranians said they there were “tricked,” and had made the video for private consumption, not intending for it to be publicly shared. A police officer in the footage criticized them for dancing in mixed company, which is against the law, and warned others against trying to achieve fame by doing the same. The woman is featured without wearing a veil, mandatory in Iran.

3. A shortened version of the TV broadcast was uploaded to YouTube with English subtitles.

4. The original video was posted last month, and had more than 30,000 hits in four days before being removed, according to Bloomberg News. After news of the arrest broke, Iranian social media users shared this version of the video.

“We want to tell the world that Iran is a better place than what they think it is,” one of the video makers, cited only as Neda, told Iran Wire in an April interview. “Despite all the pressures and limitations, young people are joyful and want to make the situation better.” Neda also told Iran Wire that they were “really afraid” while filming. “Whenever somebody looked out of a window or someone passed by, we ducked behind a door to make sure we were not seen.”

13. Thank you to @NegarMortazavi and @prrrssiankitten for contributing translation help.


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