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May 20, 2014

NIAC Condemns Arrest of “Happy” Youth

Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council (NIAC) released the following statement:

NIAC condemns Iranian authorities for arresting six youth and forcing them to repent on state television for producing a video in which they danced to the song “Happy.” 

This is a stunt aimed at generating media attention and maximum embarrassment for Iran. There are forces within Iran’s government who want to keep the Iranian people isolated from the world. They have escalated human rights violations over the past eight months in an attempt to quash hopes for greater openness internally, and to try to block positive relations from being built externally. Now they are arresting kids for dancing to music videos and forcing them to confess on state TV. 

The irony that the Iranian youth were arrested for dancing to a song called “Happy” seems to be lost on the Iranian authorities. The Iranian people cannot be forced to live in a world where enrichment is a right, but happiness is not.

Without Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to make incendiary statements to poison Iran’s reputation internationally, hardliners are carrying out provocative acts like this one in a bid to cling to the status quo and keep Iran weak and isolated. 

This latest incident comes just days after Rouhani publicly called for an end to restrictions against Internet communications in Iran, saying, “We must recognize our citizens’ right to connect to the World Wide Web.”

The Iranian government has a responsibility to uphold it commitments to international human rights obligations. President Rouhani must take action to uphold his commitments and not remain passive in face of these violations.

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