Iran releases young people arrested for making a ‘Happy’ video

TEHRAN -- Three days after being arrested and shown repenting on national television for their involvement in a fan video for the Pharrell Williams song "Happy," six Iranians have apparently been released from jail.

A seventh, the director of the video, is still being held, according to media reports. Iranian authorities have not confirmed the reports.

One of the women in the video, Reihane Taravati, posted a photo of herself on Instagram following her release, appearing without Iran's mandated hijab head covering for women. The photo was accompanied by a note that read: "Hi I'm back. Thank you @pharrell and everyone who cared about us love you so much and missed you so much."

While no official details about the release of the six have been issued, reports have surfaced that one of the conditions of their bail was that they not speak with media about their detainment or treatment while in jail. It is still unclear whether they will face any charges or have to appear in court.

The incarceration of those involved in the video set off an international uproar that caught the attention of politicians, celebrities and people around the world.

But the most discussed reaction in Tehran, and the one that many believe may have led to the group's release, came from Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani.

Late on Wednesday, Rouhani tweeted, "#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy."

Despite Rouhani's stated position that the Internet should be unfiltered in Iran and his own regular use of social media, Web sites including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook continue to be officially blocked inside the country.

The original video, which was posted online last month, received as many as 30,000 hits in the first few days.

Jason Rezaian has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012. He was previously a freelance writer based in Tehran.
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