Astiyaz Haghighi and Amir Mohammed Ahmadi, an engaged couple in their early 20s, are facing charges in Iran after the couple posted a video, which has since gone viral, of themselves dancing in front of the Azadi Tower in the Iranian capital.
This Iranian couple is convicted to 10.5 years in prison for dancing at Azadi Sq and sharing the video online.Ironically enough, ‘Azadi’ means freedom. یک دهه زندان به جرم رقص در آزادی!نامشان را بگو!#آستیاژ_حقیقی و #اميرمحمد_احمدی #WomanLifeFreedompic.twitter.com/Khpg05gemg— Saghi ساقی ️ (@saghitarin) January 30, 2023
In the video, Haghighi is seen without a Hijab which is against the Islamic republic's laws. According to EFE, this alone can result in bank accounts being frozen, fines and two months in prison.
The couple has been convicted of "encouraging corruption and public prostitution" as well as "gathering with the intention of disrupting national security."
They have also been banned from using the internet and from leaving Iran.
Go Iran tours, a commercial site trying to promote tourism to Iran, notes that, much like in Footloose, public dancing is illegal in Iran. Keeping dogs, listening to or producing some types of music and the popular exercise 'Zumba' are all also criminalized in Iran.
Authorities in Iran have been more severe in locating and punishing 'morality' crimes since protests started in September. The protests were in response to the killing of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for violating the hijab rule, in the custody of Iranian morality police.
The United Nations condemned the murder of the activist and the subsequent treatment of protestors, journalists and activists.
EFE has reported that there have been over 400 deaths and thousands of arrests since the protest broke out. The source also reported that the Iranian government had begun using facial recognition technology to identify women breaching the hijab rule.