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.”

6. Earlier this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly praised the importance of an open internet. A Twitter account associated with him retweeted key quotes from the speech.

#Cyberspace should be seen as opportunity: facilitating two-way communication, increasing efficiency & creating jobs.

— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani)

7. Despite the fact that key Iranian politicians are on Twitter, the social network remains officially blocked in Iran. Nonetheless, Iranians expressed their anger at the arrests and started #FreeHappyIranians to garner support.

#freehappyiranians @Pharrell

— Kambiz Hosseini (@kambizhosseini)

#Iran users post photo of arrested youth who made a fan video for @Pharrell HAPPY song in Tehran. #FreeHappyIranians

— Negar Mortazavi نگار (@NegarMortazavi)

Iranian satirist @kambizhosseini who featured "We are happy "Iranians last week in his show supports #freehappyIranians #پولتیک @Pharrell

— Omid Memarian (@Omid_M)

Are they going to say we never danced in #iran and this is 'western invasion'? #freehappyiranians

— Parisa (@parisa22)

We want happiness more than anythingelse and that reaches us through freedom. #freehappyiranians

— rayans (@rayansz_)

Is happiness a crime? @Pharrell #freehappyiranians

— maedeh hp (@MaedehHp)

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


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