Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Iranians arrested for "Happy" video freed -social media

22 May 2014, 11:22

Dubai - Six Iranians arrested for appearing in a video singing along to an American pop song were released on Wednesday, one day after being detained for what police called their "obscene" behaviour, one of them said in an online posting.

In the clip, the three women and three men dance and lip synch to Pharrell Williams' "Happy", imitating the official video of the international hit. The women are not wearing headscarves, as demanded by Iran's Islamic law.

Their arrest caused outrage among fans of the song - a catchy anthem about feeling happy - who took to social media to denounce what they saw as a heavy-handed response by the Islamic Republic to a piece of harmless fun.

Pharrell Williams himself criticised the arrests. "It's beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness," he tweeted on Tuesday.

The incident has highlighted the struggle between Iran's conservatives and those who hope President Hassan Rouhani, who has eased the country's antagonistic stance with the West, might also relax the Islamic Republic's social strictures.

Iran's state-run TV broadcast a programme on Tuesday, apparently showing the six expressing regret. "They had promised us not to publish the video," said one of the women.

Tehran's police chief, Hossein Sajedinia, said he had ordered the arrest of the six youngsters because they had helped create an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace," the ISNA news agency said.

A source close to the six said they had been released on bail.


"Hi, I'm back, thank you @pharrell and everyone who cared about us," Reihane Taravati wrote on her Instagram account. "Love you all so much and missed you so much."

However, the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said the video's director, Sassan Soleimani, was still being detained and it quoted a source close to the family of one of those arrested as saying they had been told they would be prosecuted.

President Rouhani has delivered few social reforms since his election last year, apparently intent on conserving his political capital for seeking an end to the nuclear dispute, something that has involved a politically risky engagement with the United States - a move criticised by hardliners.

But in a tweet on Wednesday, the president - who has championed Internet freedoms in a country that has sweeping bans on social and news media sites - appeared to express support for the six.

"#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy," he wrote on his English language Twitter account, without specifically saying he was referring to the video.

It is not the first time young Iranians have used social media sites to buck social restrictions.

A Facebook page entitled "My Stealthy Freedom", where Iranian women can send in pictures of themselves without their hair covered, has garnered 331,000 likes.

"They arrested the 'Happy' kids because it was easier than arresting women from that Facebook page," said a young Iranian from Tehran.

- Reuters


Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

24 October 2016, 21:02

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

Wizkid is back in Kenya. For two shows.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Uhuru pardons 2747 death row conv...

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned a number of death row convicts, sending them to life sentences instead. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?