Six young Iranians who appeared in a YouTube video doing a rendition of the Pharell Williams hit song “Happy” were arrested by Iranian authorities.
Tehran’s police chief called the video “obnoxious” and said he launched an investigation shortly after it appeared online.
"We launched a police investigation in cooperation with the judicial authorities and identified and arrested the accused within six hours," Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia told the semi-official ISNA News Agency.
After their arrest, the alleged suspects appeared on Iranian state-run TV with their backs turned to the camera, apologizing for their video, and saying they were lied to and that the video was never meant to be published online.
On Twitter, thousands protested the arrest using the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians.
Pharell Williams also voiced his sadness over the arrest, tweeting, “It's beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.”
Ironically, the arrest came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iranians should embrace the Internet and not fear it.
"We ought to see the internet as an opportunity. We must recognize our citizens' right to connect to the World Wide Web," said Rouhani, according to the official IRNA news agency.
"Why are we so shaky? Why have we cowered in a corner, grabbing onto a shield and a wooden sword, lest we take a bullet in this culture war?" he asked, adding, "Even if there is an onslaught, which there is, the way to face it is via modern means, not passive and cowardly methods."
I suppose this is just another example of Rouhani’s words not matching his country’s actions.