March 25
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A 21-year-old Iranian resident and her 22-year-old fiancé received a ten-year prison sentence for a video posted on social media showing them dancing near the Azadi Tower, a symbol of the Iranian capital known as the gates of Tehran.

Astiaj Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi were reportedly found guilty of "encouraging depravity and public prostitution" as well as of "holding an assembly for the purpose of violating national security."

A video of their romantic dance was published on Instagram and garnered millions of views. Hakiki and Ahmadi are popular bloggers in the country, with many people subscribing to their account.

In recent months, Iranian authorities have continued to harass people seen as campaigning for women's rights.

Mass demonstrations began last September after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the Islamic Morality Police for improperly wearing a hijab and died while in police custody. Mahsa's relatives and eyewitnesses to her arrest claim she was beaten.

Although the cause of the demonstrations was Amini's death, the participants were not only advocating for women's rights, but also making broader political demands. Many people in Iran are extremely dissatisfied with poverty, unemployment, corruption, and lack of justice.

Technically, the dance video did not contain any political appeals; the couple did not associate it with demonstrations in support of Amini.

However, Hakiki was not wearing a hijab, which is forbidden under current Islamic rules in Iran. It is also forbidden for women in the country to dance in public, much less with a man.

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