Iranian Women Are Re-Creating A Viral TikTok Dance – Iranian women are dancing in public without headscarves, defying the country’s modesty laws, after a group of teen girls were reportedly detained and forced to apologise on video for doing the same.
Five Iranian girls in crop tops and baggy pants with their hair uncovered are seen re-creating a viral TikTok dance to Rema and Selena Gomez’s song “Calm Down” in a video posted on International Women’s Day. According to Iran International, the video was posted on Instagram by their dance instructor and quickly went viral as a symbol of opposition to the country’s hard-line Islamist regime and its crackdown on protesters.
Women in Iran are not permitted to dance in public and must wear headscarves and loose-fitting clothing.
Authorities reportedly went looking for the teenagers, who are believed to be in Ekbatan, a town west of Tehran, over the next few days, and their dance instructor’s video was removed. According to the Twitter account @Shahrak Ekbatan, which tracks news in Ekbatan, the girls were detained for two days and forced to record a confession video expressing remorse for their actions.
A screenshot from the confession video purportedly shows the girls wearing headscarves and long, loose clothing.
The incident fueled further dissent against Iranian authorities, who had already faced massive protests in recent months over restrictions on women.
As a show of support for the girls, women in Iran and around the world began posting videos of themselves and others performing the same dance in public with their hair uncovered.
The death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died in police custody after being detained by morality police for wearing a hijab “improperly,” sparked widespread protest throughout Iran in September 2022. Authorities claimed Amini died in custody of a heart attack, while her family claimed she was beaten. Protests over her death quickly morphed into broader opposition to the regime.
In the six months since, Iranian security forces have routinely used draconian tactics to quell protests, even arresting children. According to a report released on Thursday by Amnesty International, children arrested during and after protests were subjected to electric shocks, had their heads held underwater, were sexually assaulted, and were threatened with rape.
According to the human rights organisation, many children were only released after signing “repentance” letters and promising not to participate in future protests. The Iranian government has not responded to the report and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from News.
A mysterious wave of suspected poisonings has also landed over 1,000 schoolgirls in the hospital across the country. In early March, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, whose department is leading the investigation into the poisoning reports, stated that 90% of the hospitalisations were due to “stress and worries caused by the news.”
Many Iranians have dismissed Vahidi’s explanation, calling it “ridiculous” and criticising the regime for failing to act on the reports despite widespread surveillance of residents.
The United Nations condemned the government for failing to protect the girls and investigate the cases quickly in a press release issued on Thursday.
“There is a stark contrast between the rapid deployment of force to arrest and imprison peaceful protestors and the inability to identify and arrest perpetrators of large-scale, coordinated attacks against young girls in Iran over months,” UN experts said.