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Iranian Woman Busts A Move, Hopes Not To Get Busted Herself


A young woman has defied Iranian law by dancing wildly on a subway train without her hijab covering her hair.
A young woman has defied Iranian law by dancing wildly on a subway train without her hijab covering her hair.

A woman dancing on a subway train may seem innocuous enough.

But in Iran, a deeply conservative country where the government dictates citizens' clothing and behavior, dancing in public is strictly forbidden.

One unidentified woman in Tehran defied those strict laws by recording herself dancing wildly on a subway train. The young woman broke a second law because she was in public without a hijab -- an Islamic head scarf -- covering her hair.

In the minute-long clip, which has gone viral, the young woman dances up and down a women-only subway carriage. Another woman holds a mobile phone to record, while many in the carriage try to ignore her.

The woman initially has her hijab on, but it slides down over her shoulders as she busts her moves to a song by British pop group Little Mix.

The footage was posted to the Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women Facebook page on November 25. The post has accumulated over 32,000 likes and nearly 13,000 shares.

The Facebook page, which has more than 700,000 likes, is “dedicated to Iranian women inside the country who want to share their ‘stealthily’ taken photos without the veil,” according to the page information.

The page is run by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist who left Iran to pursue her studies in Britain and now lives in the United States, according to Britain’s “Independent” newspaper. (In the interest of full disclosure, Alinejad is also a freelance contributor to RFE/RL's Radio Farda.)

“I was scared to publish this video at first,” Alinejad told the newspaper on November 27. “I waited for a while and then I saw it online on another personal page and I saw that it was public. Then I published it because the face was not shown and because the girl was trying to keep to keep her scarf on."

In another convention-defying video clip posted online recently, a young woman in a T-shirt and jeans walks along a street in Iran with her head uncovered.

The clips come after a group of young Iranian men and women was punished for dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy,” which they recorded and then uploaded to YouTube.

The three men and three unveiled women were given suspended prison sentences and received 91 lashes each. The arrests attracted international condemnation from rights groups and led to a social media campaign calling for their release.

-- Frud Bezhan

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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