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Iranian women and Selena Gomez express support for girls arrested in viral dancing video

Supporters of five Iranian girls arrested for dancing have been posting clips of their moves in support of the group
Supporters of five Iranian girls arrested for dancing have been posting clips of their moves in support of the group Copyright AP/EBU/Twitter
Copyright AP/EBU/Twitter
By Jonny Walfisz
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Five Iranian teenage girls issued a public apology for dancing to a Selena Gomez song without wearing hijabs. But the singer and Iranian women have come out in support of the teens.

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Five Iranian girls who were arrested for a video of them dancing have publicly apologised, as Iranian women have shared support for the group by posting their own dancing videos. 

The five teenagers shared a TikTok on 8 March of them dancing to the Selena Gomez and Rema song ‘Calm Down’. Arranged beside a tower block in Ekbatan, Tehran, the girls dance without any head covering.

The teenagers were reportedly arrested by Iranian police on 10 March. In Iran, women are not allowed to dance in public or be seen without their hair covered by a hijab. The girls’ detainment is in line with similar arrests following the death of 22-year old Masha Amini on 16 September 2022.

Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police for not properly wearing a hijab. Her death three days after her arrest has been widely contested among Iran society, with Amini’s parents accusing the police of killing her.

After Amini’s death, women across the country have protested the strict morality laws by burning headscarves and cutting their hair.

A new video has now been posted with the girls apologising for their dancing video.

“Dear Iranian people, we want to say that we made a mistake and we want to apologise. We asked but the website wouldn’t delete our dance video,” the girls say.

“We are really sorry for our mistake. TV channels used our video without our permission. We asked them to delete it but they didn’t pay attention,” one of the girls emphasises.

According to Twitter account @shahrak_ekbatan, which reports on the five teenager’s town, the girls were forced to apologise for the dancing video.

“Ekbatan girls, whose dance video went global, after being warned by the judiciary, they were detained for 2 days. Now, a forced confession has been taken from them and it has been uploaded on the page of dance instructor Khanom Mitra,” the post reads.

“Has their force reached our daughters? We will show them what's going on!” it continues.

Despite the reported apology from the teenagers, support has come for their action from women all over the world.

American singer Selena Gomez shared an article on her Instagram story saying: “[love] to these young women and all the women of Iran who continue to be courageous demanding fundamental change. Please know your strength is inspiring.”

Nigerian singer Rema has also weighed in: “To all the beautiful women who are fighting for a better world, I’m inspired by you, I sing for you and I dream with you,” he wrote on Twitter.

In Iran, women have started posting videos in support of the teenagers with clips of them dancing to the same song without head coverings. The videos have been posted with the women’s faces blurred to maintain anonymity from the Iranian authorities.

Video editor • Kerem Congar

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