Six Iranian citizens have been locked up by Iranian authorities for the crime of dancing. The individuals, who made a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy,” were charged with violating Iran’s code of moral conduct.
The video has gone viral, totaling almost 200,000 hits in just two days on YouTube.
The arrests were carried out by Tehran police Chief Hossein Sajedinia. He said the 6 individuals were arrested because they produced an “obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace.” He continued, “After a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity was released in cyberspace, police decided to identify those involved in making that clip.”
Police Chief Sajedinia was proud to announce the successful tracking of the ‘criminals’ to the public. “Following a series of intelligence and police operations and after coordinating with the judiciary, all the suspects were identified and arrested,” he said.
All six Iranians have “confessed to their criminal acts,” Sajedinia said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, five of the six Iranians arrested for making the “Happy” video has been released from prison. Reihane Taravati said on Instagram, “Hi I’m back thank you @pharrell and everyone who cared about us love you all so much and missed you so much.” The only remaining imprisoned individual was the person who directed the “Happy” video.
Taravati’s last social media post to promote the video before her imprisonment said, “People of Tehran are happy! Watch and Share Our Happiness! Let the world hear us! we are happy and we deserve to be!”
Pharrell was saddened after hearing ordinary citizens in Iran had been thrown in jail just for making a fan video of his hit song. “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” he said.
The women in the video were seen violating Iran’s state dress code. In Iran, women must don the Hijab, a veil that covers the head. The dress code has been mandated since the 1979 revolution that installed an Islamic government in Iran.