Iranian police arrest seven young men and women whose video of dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams on Tehran rooftops went viral on YouTube, just days after President Hassan Rouhani said the country should embrace the Internet.
The Happy in Tehran video which aired last month had more than 30,000 visits in less than four days before it was pulled down. Two further videos by different group of Iranians also were posted on Youtube.
The idea behind Pharrell’s Happy video is to dance in the streets, and, you guessed it, be happy.
The seven dancers in the video were involved in the art world and were surprised by their unexpected hit.
“We couldn’t believe that 10,000 people would watch it in just one day. And the number is growing,” says Neda, one of the video’s stars, according to an interview on Iranwire, an independent news service.
The Iranian dancers were shown confessing that they ”were tricked” on state television.
On Saturday, Rouhani had called for greater easing of Internet access.
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) May 17, 2014
“First, our entire obsession was video,” Rouhani said, according to the official IRNA news agency. “Then satellite dishes shot up on roofs. Today, the Internet and smart phones have become the foremost woe.”
Officially, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter are banned in Iran, even though top officials, including Rouhani, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are prolific users of social media.
Who knows, maybe Iranian authorities prefer Beyonce to Pharrell.