Iranian Instagram star arrested for dancing in her videos

Maedeh Hojabri in one of her most recent videos.
Maedeh Hojabri in one of her most recent videos.

Maedeh Hojabri had more than 600,000 followers on Instagram. She used her account to post videos of herself dancing sexily to pop music, without a headscarf and often showing her midriff or bare arms. But on Saturday July 7, a documentary on Iranian TV confirmed the rumours: Hojabri had been arrested.

She wasn't the only one. Three other young women who posted videos online of themselves dancing were rounded up too. The Iranian TV programme showed them all tearfully repenting their actions. It's impossible to know at this stage whether they were forced confessions.

In Iran's Islamic Republic, it's mandatory for women to wear a hardscarf. Women have to wear clothes that cover their bodies sufficiently. It's also forbidden to dance in public. Since the end of 2017, some brave women have defied the regime by filming themselves walking in public without a headscarf.