Iran arrests 3 over World Cup video

TEHRAN, Iran (AP)

Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country’s World Cup football team, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.

Provincial police chief Col. Rahmatollah Taheri was quoted as saying the video clip, produced by the London-based Ajam Band, features scenes from outside and inside Iran, including the city of Shahroud, where two 23-year-olds appearing in the film and a 26-year-old photographer were arrested.

The video shows young people, including women not wearing the mandatory headscarf, singing and dancing in support of Iran’s national team, interspersed with footage from matches. They are shown waving Iranian flags and dancing in cars, streets, homes and public parks.

Taheri called the video “vulgar” and urged the youth not to take part in such activities. The official said those arrested have been referred for possible prosecution.

In May police arrested six young Iranian men and women for dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” in an online video, but released them days later.

Iranian hard-liners view such behavior as promoting the spread of Western “decadence” and undermining the Islamic Republic, which bars women from dancing in public or appearing outside without covering their hair with a hijab. The government also bans some websites.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, has pursued a policy of social and cultural openness alongside greater engagement with the West on the country’s disputed nuclear program. His hard-line rivals have pushed back, accusing him of showing too much leniency to those who would challe)nge conservative Islamic norms.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  1. Chris YU says:

    unbelievable.

  2. Ajax Lessome says:

    Despite Iran’s attempt to persuade the world otherwise, it remains a brutal theocracy where anything can land you in jail if it rubs the Islamist authorities the wrong way. I think we can finally put to bed any thoughts that Iran is a nation governed and controlled by moderate, liberal, well meaning people? It has a constitution that vests ultimate authority in a ruling religious council and Supreme Leader who has final say on all matters military, civil, judicial and economic. It’s a nation that let’s its paramilitary and quasi-judicial arms run amok and one that has steadfastly refused any and all efforts to link human rights improvements to any nuclear deal to lift sanctions. I mean, it’s a country that throws people in prison for posting on Facebook or gays from holding hands in public. Throwing someone in prison over a World Cup Video is sadly not a surprise, but more proof that Iran is serious…and I don’t mean seriously crazy, but serious about enforcing its view of the world on the everyone else.

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