'Happy' video arrests highlight tensions in Iran

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Associated Press

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 10:33 PM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Social media posts suggest at least some of the six young Iranian men and women arrested after appearing in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams' "Happy" have been released.

The case reflects the tensions that exist at the highest levels of Iranian power, with hard-liners determined to maintain the status quo while moderates try to push through change.

The video shows a group of hip twentysomethings hamming it up for the camera in sunglasses and silly clothes on Tehran rooftops and alleyways. One of the bearded men goofily dips his female dancing partner.

None of the three women in the video wears a hijab.

Tehran's police chief appeared on state TV, saying the six dancers "were identified and arrested within six hours."

That news stirred predictably swift criticism from outside Iran. But a tweet posted on President Hassan Rouhani's (hah-SAHN' roh-HAH'-neez) account also seemed directed at the controversy. It read: "#Happiness is our people's right," and "We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy."

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APPHOTO NY108: In this frame grab taken from video posted to YouTube, people dance to Pharrell Williams' hit song "Happy" on a rooftop in Tehran, Iran. Police in Iran have arrested six young people and shown them on state television for posting the video. While the song has sparked similar videos all over the world, in Iran some see the trend as promoting the spread of Western culture. And women are banned from dancing in public or appearing outside without the hijab in the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo) (21 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO NY108 (05/21/14)££

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