22 May 2014

We are (not) Happy from Tehran

Six young men and women in Iran have been released by the country’s police, after they were arrested for appearing in a parody video of Pharrell William’s hit song Happy.

The video's director, Sassan Soleimani, was still being detained, according to the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The organisation also quoted a source close to the family of one of those arrested as saying the group had been told they would be prosecuted.

Since it was uploaded to YouTube on 19 May, the footage has garnered over 300,000 views. It shows three women, not wearing headscarves as required by the country’s law, and three men, lip syncing to the song while they dance on a roof and inside a home in the capital Tehran.

Tehran's police chief, Hossein Sajedinia, said he had ordered the arrest of the six young people featured in the clip because they had created an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals", according to the ISNA news agency.