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Iranian Parliament Criticises Arrest Of Girl In Online Dance Video

12 July 2018

Maedeh Hajabri posted a video dancing to pop and rap music without donning a hijab in her bedroom, which is a requirement for all women who appear in public.

In response to Hojabri's arrest, Iranians began posting videos of themselves dancing on social media.

Hojabri's arrest bears similarities with a 2014 incident in which six young Iranians were arrested for producing a video based on the Pharrell Williams song "Happy".

Reihane Taravati, another supporter tweeted: "You arrested me for being #Happy when I was 23". The Times reports authorities have said they may soon ban Instagram, and announced that 51,000 Instagram pages are under surveillance for vulgar and inappropriate videos.

The police said the campaign was being pushed by Persian-language satellite TV networks based overseas, purportedly encouraging women participants to take their white headscarves off in protest of the country's strict Islamic modesty laws.

The confession stated that she didn't want attention for her dancing and that she's just a gymnast: "It wasn't for attracting attention".

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No charges have been announced in Hojabri's case but the day her forced confession was aired, the head of Tehran's cyber-police Touraj Kazemi announced that people who post "indecent" material online would be pursued for committing crimes against national security. "I did not work with a network", a crying Hojabri told TV on Friday.

Hojabri had been dancing in a public forum, which is frowned upon in conservative Iranian circles, and doing so without the headscarf prescribed by Iran's clerical rulers. "I only do gymnastics", she continued. This is not the first incident when dancers in Iran have been jailed.

Instagram is one of the few social media sites that isn't heavily blocked in Iran where Facebook and Twitter are far more restricted.

Iran's 2009 "Green Movement" was largely fueled by social media. "Let people be. Let's not infringe on their privacy, people's private lives belong to them", he told a crowd at a 2018 celebration of the country's Islamic revolution. Earlier in January this year, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with "cyberspace experts" to discuss challenges that the internet poses to the country's leadership. However, because of "unwanted content", authorities may also shut down Instagram leaving their millions of local users in the dark.

AP said there was no immediate comment from Iranian officials. But the Westerners behind it gradually turned Instagram into a mischievous tool for unsafe subversive actions against the state or pornographic purposes.

"I have already said that it is impossible to totally block the internet, but we can slow it down", he added.

Iranian Parliament Criticises Arrest Of Girl In Online Dance Video