Yesterday, we brought you the tragic news about a group of six Iranians who posted a video of them dancing around the Iranian capital of Tehran to Pharrell’s “Happy” song. The video was one of hundreds of covers on YouTube and was one of the more professional looking of the group. Unfortunately, the authorities in Iran, where it is illegal for men and women to dance together and for women to appear in public without a veil, took offense and the six were arrested.
Today, some good news for the six arrested Iranians, The President of Iran appears to be sympathetic to their plight:
"#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy." 29/6/2013
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) May 21, 2014
Better yet, after spending three days in an Iranian prison, all six participants of the video have been released on bail. They are reportedly barred from speaking to the media while they await trial. There remains one Iranian with a connection to the film who remains in jail: The director.
A video released by Iranian media outlets shows the six Iranians actors blaming the director for the video, saying that they were assured it wouldn’t be released in public. If those confessions were coerced or not, it is impossible to tell. However, things are not looking as bright for the video’s unseen director.
While the original video has been taken down from YouTube, copies of it have sprung up all over the video sharing site and the original remains on one of the dancers’ instagram account. Despite the canned confessions shown by Iranian media outlets, said member’s Facebook account mentions the video multiple times and seemed excited by the pre-arrest exposure.
Pharrell himself has weighed in on the situation, calling it incredibly sad.
Rouhani doesn’t have the absolute authority necessary to pull back on Iran’s oppressive laws, but has shown himself to be far more open-minded than previous Iranian Presidents. Today, he tweeted that there is hope for U.S.-Iranian relations and has previously stated that Iran should embrace, rather than resist, the internet.
No trial date is immediately apparent for the Happy Iranians, but we will be sure to keep you informed.
You can voice your support for the “Happy” Iranians by using the hashtag #Freehappyiranians or by clicking the link below.
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