A young couple in Iran were sentenced to 10 years in prison after they were filmed dancing together

Two young girls take pictures in Azadi Square on November 1, 2022 in Tehran, Iran.
Two young girls take pictures in Azadi Square on November 1, 2022 in Tehran, Iran.Contributor/Getty Images
  • A couple in their 20s were sentenced to 10 years in prison for dancing in a video that went viral.

  • They were convicted of "promotion of impurity and indecency" and propaganda against the government.

  • Their sentences came as Iran continues to arrest thousands in connection to mass protests in 2022.

An Iranian couple in their early 20s have been sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison after posting a video of themselves dancing romantically, human rights activists said on Tuesday.

Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, and her fiance, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, were convicted of "promotion of impurity and indecency, assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime," according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, the media platform of a human rights group in Iran.

"On November 1, 2022, security forces arrested this couple violently at their home in Tehran," the agency wrote, adding that Haghighi was moved to a women's prison in Varamin County.

A video of the two dancing in front of Tehran's Azadi Tower had gone viral before their arrest, the group said.



Haghighi and Ahmadi were both denied access to lawyers and had their bail attempts rejected, the outlet added.

The pair have nearly 1 million followers each on Instagram, and many of their posts prominently feature both of them in the same shot.

At least online, they did not appear to associate their dance with the mass protests against Iran's strict Islamist regime, the BBC reported.

But the dance video has been lauded as a symbol of freedom in support of the protests, Agence France-Presse reported.

Azadi Tower is also a "place of huge sensitivity," AFP wrote.

The landmark was built by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi shortly before he was overthrown in the 1979 revolution, and was designed by an architect who practices the Bahá'í faith, which Iran's Islamic Republic has cracked down on since it took power.

The sentences handed down to the young couple are among the harshest yet imposed on people accused of supporting protests against the Islamic Republic, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, while in police custody.

At least 14,000 people, including children, athletes, and celebrities, have been arrested following the protests, the United Nations reported.

So far, at least 11 death sentences have been issued related to the protests.

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