A group of Iranian teen girls are being sought by police for posting a TiKTok video of themselves dancing to a Selena Gomez song.
The video, being widely shared online, shows five teen girls dancing without headscarves in front of tower blocks in western Tehran to the song “Calm Down” by Selena Gomez and Nigerian singer Rema.
The song was released last Wednesday, March 8, which was International Women’s Day.
Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari said the video would be considered ordinary in most cities around the world but in Iran, “it’s an act of defiance.”
“I wonder if @heisrema knows that his song #CalmDown is the backgrop of an incredibly courageous act of defiance by young Iranian women?” tweeted Nahayat Tizhoosh, a Canadian journalist. “It started when 5 girls danced to his music in @shahrak_ekbatan- risking persecution by a regime that has murdered women for simply protesting.”
An Ekbatan Twitter account which posts events in the neighborhood, warned on Friday that girls faced possible arrest and detention.
The account said Iranian security forces were reviewing CCTV footage at the tower block to identify the girls and were questioning the guards.
The neighborhood has been an epicenter of protests in recent months, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Iranian woman died on Sept. 22, 2022 while in police custody, following her arrest for not wearing her headscarf properly.
Meanwhile, hundreds of young Iranian girls attending different schools have become overpowered by what are believed to be noxious fumes wafting into their classrooms.
Officials in Iran’s theocracy initially dismissed the reports, but later described them as intentional attacks involving some 30 schools, with some speculating they could be aimed at trying to close schools for girls in this country of over 80 million people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.