Six young Iranians have recently been arrested by the police for making a lipdub of the Happy clip for Pharrell Williams. The people reaction was immediate and the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians has been created asking for their freedom. Even the moderate president Rohani tweeted to express his surprise concerning the police decision. But it is not the only things prohibited in the Islamic Republic since the revolution of 1979, other basic entertainment are also prohibited. Here is a list of things you can be arrested for.
- I walk my dog in the street
Owning a dog is an “occidental behavior” for some conservative people, so against Islamic moral but it is also a sign of protest in Iran. Walking your dog can result in a expensive fine for you and maybe death for your pet. However, some people owns a dog and walk them the night since police is not likely to control pet owning in the housing.
- I walk hair in the wind
Women are required to go out with a veil. However, a recent (online) protest happened in Iran, and people posted on the social networks selfies without any veils. Some women have been fined by the police or even arrested but only few of them. Veil is indeed not in the Iranian culture and it is not rare that Iranian women cover only a few part of their head, as a provocation to the religious police. Also the president Rohani have asked, just after his election, the religious police to be more tolerant about the veil. Also, when some women are arrested in the street, it is not rare than some people interfered with the police to help these women. They can be arrested too but usually a small fine is applied.
- I enjoy soccer games with my friends and family
Watching soccer is a group entertainment. However, even if some theater will offer diffusion of soccer games, men and women will be separated. Theater owners are protesting against it since families usually prefer watching soccer all together. Women in Iran are forbidden to go to soccer stadium, while it is totally free of charge for Tunisian women. The “official reason” is that language used in stadium is too rude for them, the real one is that conservative people don’t allow women to be exposed to men.
- I kiss my my friends
Kissing is something very usual in Europe, sometimes too much. In France, kissing is between 3 and 5 times to say hello, goodbye, thank you, congratulations…. But physical contacts between men and women are prohibited in Iran since the revolution. Recently, Leila Hatami kissed Gilles Jaboc at the Festival de Cannes to express her gratitude to the president of the jury. This was considered by some conservative people of Iran as an inappropriate act that deserves a punishment. Gilles Jacob tried to help her by tweeting later he didn’t kiss a woman but the whole Iranian Cinema.
- I use social networks
Youtube, Facebook, Twitter…. most of social networks are banned from the country but every single Iranian knows how to gain access to it, using a VPN connection. In 2012, because of the election, even Google and Gmail have been temporally banned. Whattsapp is not blocked currently even if some people asked for it but president Rohani didn’t accept this demand.
- I talk about sex
Talking about sex is often not well accepted in Muslim countries. In Iran, the movie director Mitra Farahani has been arrested in Tehran in 2004 because of her movie Tabous, that was dealing with sexual desire.
- I film in the street
Filming in the street can be prohibited and you can be sent to jail for doing it. The filmmaker Mehrnoushe Solouki has been arrested and spent one month in Evin jail just because of her documentary.
- I take picture in the street
In 2009, the french student Clotilde Reiss went to Ispahan for her studies. She took part to demonstrations during the presidential elections, took pictures of it and was accused of being an agent of the French Secret Service. Her trial began in August 2009, with Nazak Afshar, an employee of the French Embassy and Hosseim Rassam. She was liberated in 2010 after a negotiation between the Iranian president and the Brazilian president. It is not the only time foreign people are arrested, tourists are often arrested by the police but rapidly released.
- I am playing with water
During the 2011 summer,during the Ramadan period, a giant water battle has been organized in Tehran, via Facebook (even if Facebook is officially banned). People spent couple of hours playing with water before the police came and arrested some of them. Like for the Happy case, some people were required to publicly expressed their shame and apologize on national television.