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Singing and Dancing in a YouTube Video to Cheer On the National Football Team Can Get You Arrested in Iran

Screenshot of a video supporting Iran's national team in the World Cup. Those involved in the video were reportedly arrested.

Screenshot of a video supporting Iran's national team in the World Cup. Three people who were involved in the making of the video were arrested.

Only a month after six Iranians were jailed for making a version of the viral “Happy” video, three people were arrested in Iran for their involvement in an upbeat music video supporting Iran's national team in the World Cup.   

The video, which was produced by the UK-based Ajam Band, includes clips of Iranians in more than a dozen countries singing and dancing. Two actors and the director were arrested, according to the Iranian state news agency. Details on their arrests were scant, but Iranian police called the video “vulgar“. 

“Goal Iran” was published just two days before the World Cup opener on June 10, 2014, and has nearly 30,000 views on YouTube. Agence France-Press reported that the video was broadcast on satellite TV in Iran, available only via illegal dishes that are nevertheless widespread.

The word in Persian for flower also means goal, and the song makes use of that double meaning: 

What is the goal, which is the fruit of love and hope
What is the goal, which is red and green and white [the colours of the Iranian flag]
What is the goal that came from Iran’s heart
Our hearts want an Iranian goal
Come on, come on we want a goal
…long live Iran’s name

Iran was eliminated from the World Cup after losing to Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1 on June 25.

An earlier loss to Argentina in the tournament prompted Iranians to stream into the streets in celebration. Iran held Argentina scoreless for 90 minutes during a match on June 21 until superstar Lionel Messi knocked in a goal at the last minute. To many Iranians, it was an impressive achievement for their national squad.

Amir Jahnashai, the founder of Iranian opposition TV channel Raha TV in London, tweeted in reaction: 

The entire Iranian nation today supports our football team. Such solidarity should be present in all fields.

Blogger Namajafari injected a little unhappy reality into the celebration:

Sweet loss, hoping one day Iranian women can sit next to Iranian men while watching the games.

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