Despite “Dancing in The Street” by David Bowie and Mick Jagger being a big hit in the US as well as across Europe in 1985, the cover of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’ biggest hit never caught on in Iran. Then again, with Islamic rule being what it was 37 years ago, it’s not very surprising.
Now, an engaged couple in Iran is facing a long prison sentence for listening to their timeless message.
Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, is seen dancing without a headscarf with her fiancé Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, in Azadi Square in a video the couple posted on social media themselves. For the dance and its viral views, the activist group Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) explained they are facing serious time. With each receiving the charges of “spreading corruption and vice,” and “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting national security,” they will each be serving 10.5 years for their “offenses.”
Iran’s own affiliate news agency Mizan is disputing that. They claim the duo only received 5 years for the “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting national security.” With their inclusion of an invitation for people to assemble and riot in the October 26th post according to the government, they are afraid of what the duo represents.
Facing a raid on October 30th, the duo was ripped from their home and have been separated ever since. With no legal representation, they have been fighting an uphill battle since the first step. In addition to the jail time, they are also forbidden to post videos on social media for two years after their release, as well as a two-year ban on leaving the country.