Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Three held over Iran World Cup film

The Iran national team are in Brazil for the World Cup (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 team, the official IRNA news agency has reported.

Provincial police chief Colonel 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 football team, interspersed with footage from matches.

They are shown waving Iranian flags and dancing in cars, streets, homes and public parks.

Col Taheri called the video "vulgar" and urged young people 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's song Happy in an online video, but released them days later.

Iranian hardliners view such behaviour 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.

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 programme. His hardline rivals have pushed back, accusing him of showing too much leniency to those who would challenge conservative Islamic norms.

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