Maedeh Hojabri, Iranian Teen Arrested Over Dancing Instagram Post

Iran detains teenage girl for posting dance videos on Instagram

It has played out in many ways for decades: Iranian musicians tapping into Western influences, for example, or Iranian women challenging authorities by pushing back their headscarves to nearly gravity-defying styles.

According to AP, it was unclear whether her statement was made under duress.

Iranian blogger and freedom of speech activist Hossein Ronaghi re-posted one of Ms Hojabri's videos on Twitter.

Hojabri had uploaded around 300 videos to her account, in which she can be seen dancing in both Iranian and Western styles, without the compulsory hijab. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same I didn't work with a team, I received no training. In several videos, she chose to appear without wearing the obligatory headscarf.

One Twitter user, who posted a video of herself dancing with her back turned to the camera, wrote: "I'm dancing so that they [the authorities] see and know that they can not take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and (girls like) Maedeh".

It's not clear what sentence Hojabri might face for her dancing videos but she has been reportedly released on bail along with the other three women.

Her performances had thousands of followers on various accounts with her name on them, ranging from 12,000 to 66,000 followers.

Critics of the arrest of gymnast Maedeh Hojabri, 18, used the hashtag #Dancingisnotacrime and Iranian women posted videos of themselves dancing in public.

"If you tell people anywhere in the world that 17 and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free, they will laugh! Because for them, it's unbelievable!"

Iranian-American journalist Arash Sigarchi tweeted: "40 years ago, dance were taught in school in Iran but after the Islamic revolution 1979 it became a big crime!"

Zahra Rahnavard, the opposition Green Movement leader who has been under house arrest in Iran without charge for over seven years was quoted by the Kaleme website as saying, "The head of the IRIB should apologize to the shared conscience of the people of Iran". In 2014, six Iranians were arrested after they were captured on video dancing to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy".

Access to many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Telegram messaging app are blocked in Iran.

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