Is Dancing Illegal In Iran

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In this still from a video posted on YouTube in 2014, Iranians dance to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy” on a rooftop in Tehran. In Iran, some people consider dancing in public as a promotion of Western culture.

Is Dancing Illegal In Iran

It was fun: the kids sang and danced to a popular Persian pop song. But hardline Iranian authorities did not budge and exploded with anger when they saw videos uploaded to social media by teachers from several schools.

Iran’s Hard Liners Outraged By Viral Videos Of Schoolchildren Dancing

“The enemies are trying to annoy people in various ways, including by spreading these disturbing videos that we have seen in cyberspace,” Iranian Education Minister Mohammad Batai said last week. “I am sure there is some sort of political agenda behind the publication of these fraudulent clips in schools.”

Such outrage is nothing new. After the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah, conservative Islamic clerics sought to reduce or eliminate the influence of Western culture. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, for example, tried to ban all music from radio and television after taking control of the new Islamic Republic.

But with the rise of social media, Iran’s efforts to isolate itself are more threatened than ever. Because the kind of entertainment that was long frowned upon by hard-line authorities is now spreading and spreading through society faster than it can be controlled.

“These viral videos are holes in the Iranian government’s control, and the Internet opened them up because of ease of access,” said Holly Dagros, an Iran expert at the Atlantic Council. “In the eyes of extremists, messaging apps and the Internet have become centers of incitement against the state. Without their control over the flow of information, this would become a burden for hardline authorities.

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Now members of Iran’s parliament have launched an investigation to identify those responsible for the viral videos, with some saying they should be fired and prosecuted.

Last week, Education Minister Batey announced that authorities had assembled a panel of three “experts” to identify school administrators and teachers.

Ministry spokesman Masoud Zaghafi said several schools, including an elementary school in Tehran, were under investigation, the semi-official news agency reported.

According to news reports in Iran, the videos were part of an online dance competition held annually to mark Teachers’ Day on May 2.

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Daftar moftah is rafif sasi mankan dar teeter ika bar dir ba aftasmar dir ba aftasmar ZoCPcJ08i3 — Afkham (@m_afkham) May 4, 2019

They show children from several schools dancing and singing to “Gentleman” by Los Angeles-based Iranian singer Shashi Mankan.

Sashi, whose real name is Sasan Heidari, has been one of the most prominent Iranian underground rap artists for nearly two decades. Shashi lived in Iran and supported reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi during the controversial 2009 presidential election.

In one video, you can see dozens of children in blue uniforms clapping to the beat as they sing the lyrics at the same time. In another, children smile as they jump up and down and sway to the same popular tune.

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Reacting to the backlash, Sasi posted several videos on her Instagram account and mocked the conservatives leading the probe.

Jeenu bah sabham miseram tha sari basha to kasho wonai ko meritum doos ro bb nd.— 🤖Nariman Nariman (@NarimanGharib) May 7, 2019

It is not clear what charges have been brought against school officials and teachers, but officials say the dance videos are intended to undermine the Islamic Republic and that those who do not meet the standards of the Iranian education system should be held accountable.

While singing and dancing in private is not prohibited in Iran, men in general and women in particular are prohibited from doing so in public. Such actions, according to conservatives, go against Islamic ideals of modesty in behavior and dress.

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“What frustrates the Iranian authorities is that their schools are supposed to shape what they think are ideal Islamic youth,” Dagras said. “But here are the same young people who are breaking stereotypes.”

Conservative experts told Iranian newspaper Kayhan and Fars news agency that teachers and school officials had committed criminal offences.

Iran’s Basij militia, made up mostly of zealous religious volunteers, called on the education minister to identify those responsible.

“What happened to our country that prompted some students to hold a dance competition with a vulgar and nonsensical song full of evil ideas by underground DJs?” – Written by members of the Basij group.

Dance For Freedom

Others resist. Some have criticized the videos for scrutinizing entertainment rather than dealing with Iran’s faltering economy and other day-to-day issues.

“In these desperate times, when we constantly hear about rising commodity prices, is preventing students from having fun really a priority?” Commentator Sudabe Sadri wrote last week in an article for the prominent Asar Iran website. “Can’t they be happy for a few minutes, let it be a song by an Iranian singer in Los Angeles?”

The anger on both sides is part of a decade-long culture war that led to the re-election in 2017 of moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who campaigned on promises of greater personal freedoms and easing of internet restrictions.

But hardliners who regained influence after President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and imposed tough economic sanctions on the country are resisting calls for reform.

I Risked Everything To Dance In Iran’

Authorities tightened controls on Internet access following the 2009 Green Movement, a massive political uprising that began in Iran after a disputed presidential election.

Like other countries such as China, Iran has blocked thousands of websites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as the messaging app Telegram. Authorities have also discussed creating their own internal internet to better control information going in and out of Iran and have considered banning Instagram.

Meanwhile, the authorities are taking strict action against those who are found to be immoral on the websites. In 2018, authorities arrested a 19-year-old girl for posting a video of herself dancing on her Instagram account. A few months later, she was seen apologizing on state television.

In 2014, six people who posted videos of themselves dancing on a rooftop to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” received 91 lashes and six months in prison.

Concern Over 5 Iranian Women In Viral Dance Video

A few days ago, authorities in the central city of Isfahan announced that women could no longer ride bicycles. City prosecutor Ali Isfahani told the Islamic Republic’s official news agency that the ban was based on Islamic law and the opinions of religious scholars.

Recently, women at the University of Tehran had to follow a strict dress code. Before the rules were tightened, women pulled the headscarf behind their heads, exposing part of their hair. Now they are asked to cover all their hair. According to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, Basij forces defeated student protests against the stricter laws.

However, with more than half of Iran’s 82 million people under the age of 30, subtle changes are beginning to occur in society.

Many young people learned how to bypass Iran’s internet restrictions. They watch Western movies on satellite TV and follow diaspora musicians like Sasi by using VPNs that allow access to blocked websites, allowing users to hide web browsing through an unblocked server.

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Such tools made it possible for Iranians to access Twitter, some of whom turned to the site this month to add their two cents to dance debates.

Conservatives want to “mobilize the whole country to find out which school started the sassy mangan singing competition!” wrote a Twitter user under the pseudonym Payman Moghaddam. But at the same time they blame others for the growth of inflation, corruption, lawlessness and incompetence. May God heal your insanity even if you doubt it.

Alas 40 ساله ایران همین جاست. Danshamusan Banthalam ر May 7, 2019

Melissa Etehad, a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, is an Iranian-American who enjoys writing about national and international issues. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California, San Diego. She previously worked for Al Jazeera English and the Washington Post’s foreign affairs department, where she covered the intersections between politics, religion and gender. Her mother tongue is Farsi. View this post on Instagram 04:51 AM PDT

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As the US and Iran trade threats in recent weeks and teeter on the brink of military confrontation, Iranian hardliners have identified a new “political conspiracy” by an “enemy” that is “trying in many ways to disturb the people,” Education Minister Mohammad Batei warned.

Bataei did not talk about the attack on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln

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