84 Young People Arrested at Dance Party in Iran

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Iranian security forces raided party in the city of Mashhad and arrested 84 young people for dancing. After receiving a tip-off, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security moved in on the mixed-gender party.

A report on Iran’s state-run media said, "After the information was confirmed, the necessary coordination was carried out with judicial authorities and the authorization for the operation was issued. The 49 men and 35 women were arrested in a surprise operation while they were dancing.”

In a separate incident in the city of Amol, the same media outlet reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards arrested 20 other young men and women were arrested, ostensibly for the same “offense.”

Despite promises from “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani that personal and social freedoms would be expanded, the regime continues his extreme oppression.

To name a few cases, Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, a British-Iranian citizen was arrested and later sentenced to one year in prison for attempting to view a volleyball game in Iran. She is currently being held in the notoriously brutal Evan prison in Teheran.

The sentence followed swiftly on the heels of the execution of Reyhanneh Jabbari (aged 26) who was hanged for murder last Saturday after stabbing her would-be-rapist. 

Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, 47, a British woman in Iran visiting family was arrested for the crime of “insulting Islamic sanctities” for a comment she allegedly made on a Facebook post. The crime carries with it the death penalty. Nobakht was also charged with "gathering and participation with intent to commit crime against national security." 

Last year, Iran executed  well-known poet and human rights activist Hashem Shaabani, a 32- year-old Arab-Iranian, for “waging war on God.” Other charges included sowing corruption on earth, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and acting against national security.

Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was in Iran to set up an orphanage, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Revolutionary Guard court after being accused of undermining national security. He has been beaten, tortured and denied medical care and is currently being held in the Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, a facility known to “disappear” inmates. The prison houses the most violent criminals amid horrific conditions.  

Also last year, seven Iranians were arrested for making a video (see below) called “Happy in Teheran,” a dance filmed to the tune of Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy.” They all received suspended sentences of up to one year in prison and 91 lashes. The punishment was suspended for three years, barring any similar offenses.

Moreover, since Rouhani assumed power in August 2013, the number of executions has skyrocketed. The most common charges garnering the death penalty was drug trafficking, followed by rape, murder and apostasy.  

See Clarion Project's Fact Sheet: Human Rights in Iran

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org