Iranian security forces have reportedly launched efforts to identify five girls who caused a stir on the Internet this week with a dance video in Ekbatan Town, west of Tehran, which has been a flashpoint of anti-government protests.
Late on March 9, Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter account, which covers news about the neighborhood, warned that police were looking for the teenagers.
"They looked for CCTV footage of Block 13 to identify the girls who were only dancing and were not involved in any political activity. Police were seen checking the footage and questioning the guards," it said.
Shahrak Ekbatan also reported that the Instagram page in which the dance video was first published has been deactivated.
In their 40-second clip, which coincided with International Women’s Day on March 8, the five girls in loose clothing and without the mandatory headscarf dance to the tune of Calm Down by Rema and Selena Gomez, with two grey buildings in the background.
This is an ordinary scene in most cities around the world. But in #Iran, it's an act of defiance. Young #IranianWomen dancing in Ekbatan Town in west #Tehran #IranianRevolution #IranRevoIution2023 #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/g0pHrisWPe— Maziar Bahari (@maziarbahari) March 9, 2023
The video has gone viral on social media, with comments praising the dancers’ “act of defiance” toward the Islamic Republic.
Women and girls in Iran are required to wear a headscarf and are forbidden to dance in public.
But a growing number of women and girls have been demonstratively ignoring the codes imposed by the Islamic Republic since the September 2022 death of a 22- year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police. Amini had been arrested for allegedly wearing a headscarf improperly.
The Iranian authorities have responded to the women-led protests with a brutal crackdown in which more than 520 people have been killed and over 19,000 have been illegally detained, including many women, rights groups say. After biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.
In January, an Iranian court sentenced a two bloggers, Amir Ahmadi and his partner Astiaj Haghighi, to a total of 21 years in prison for publishing a video of themselves dancing in Tehran's central Azadi Square
Pour crime de danse, Astiyazh Haghighi, 21 ans, et Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22 ans, ont été condamnés à 10 ans et 6 mois de prison. @AlinejadMasih #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/iwtzEOsNdA— L'important (@Limportant_fr) January 30, 2023