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Six Iranians arrested for dancing to Pharrell's 'Happy' released on bail

The six young Iranians who were arrested on Wednesday for appearing in a video singing and dancing along to Pharrell's Happy have been released on bail.

However, the director of the video is still being detained according to the International Campaign for Human Rights group in Iran. ​

Tehran's police chief Hossein Sajedinia said he detained the six youngsters because they took part in an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace", according to Iran's ISNA news agency. 

One of the dancers in the video, Tehran-based photographer Reihane Taravati, confirmed reports of the release with a post on Instagram.​

 

Reihane Taravati posted a selfie on Instagram to tell her follows she has been freed

Their arrest has caused much outrage on social media with many denouncing the heavy-handed response to a display of harmless fun.

Even Pharrell has spoken out against the arrests. He tweeted: " It's beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness."

Iran's president, who is in China for an official visit, adopted a less conservative stance toward the video compared to the authorities.

There has been speculation that Mr Hassan Rouhani's tweet may have had a hand in the dancers' release.


 

His tweet has highlighted the disconnect between Iran's presidency and police force, which are overseen by the judiciary branch controlled by Iran's unelected Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

Mr Rouhani, a self-declared moderate, is known to be supportive of more social freedoms in Iran. However, traditionalists and conservatives, who have more sway in the establishment, have opposed the call to relax the Islamic Republic's social structures.

 

 

 

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Sources: Reuters, AFP, ABC News, Huffington Post, CNN

 

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