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It feels like we’re back to Ahmadinejad time. Now as we all know Rouhani cannot transform Iran and it was to be expected that the problems would continue, but faced with public disapproval they had reigned it in a bit lately, and it seems they’re letting it go. Bad news after bad news.

First bad news is that the talks have reached obstacles and have stalled. With both P5+1 and IAEA. Via Reuters:

The U.N. nuclear watchdog sought in talks with Iranon Tuesday to advance a long-stalled investigation into Tehran’s atomic activities, but it was not immediately clear whether any headway was made.

A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the two sides met in Tehran, but said the IAEA was not planning to issue a statement about the talks on Tuesday, leaving open the possibility one might be made later.

And then there was this fiasco over Layla Hatami, Iranian actress who’s now one of the jury members at Cannes Film Festival, who shook hands and kissed the cheek of Gilles Jacob, the 83 year old President of the Cannes Film Festival. This caused a lot of outrage among the right wingers and parliament members. Which was to be expected – similar outrages were caused when Asghar Farhadi, the great Iranian director, shook hands with Angelina Jolie, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president, kissed Hugo Chavez’s mother in his funeral. But there’s a real depressing element to this one. The depressing element is that a Rouhani administration official has also chimed in. Via BBC:

But Iranian deputy minister of culture, Hoseyn Nushabadi, said that Hatami’s appearance in Cannes was “in violation of religious beliefs”.

This is really depressing. People have been either mocking him (which he deserves) or defending him (which he does not). I don’t care if he did it to calm the situation or not, I don’t care if he was lying. First off, I don’t know Noushabadi. He might be one of the right wing radicals Rouhani has not been able to clear. There are many fundamentalist elements in his administration too. But we are allowed to feel betrayed and hurt for this.

Finally we have the young people who were arrested for dancing to Pharrell Williams’s video “Happy”. Via HuffingtonPost:

Sources report that seven to eight young Iranians have been arrested in Tehran, for the simple crime of being “Happy.”

Three men and three women danced unveiled to Pharrell Williams’ smash hit in a video that was widely shared on social media, garnering over 30,000 views before it was taken down. Copies have been quickly re-uploaded as news of the arrest has broken, sparking the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians.

Many Iranians praised their joyful video, but it was met with censure by the conservative religious forces which have ruled Iran since the Revolution in 1979.

“After a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity was released in cyberspace, police decided to identify those involved in making that clip,” Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia told the ISNA News Agency, according to ABC.

Footage from Iranian state TV appears to show seven men and one woman being interrogated about the video, which is shown in the clip with the dancers blurred out.The BBC reported that the exact number of detainees has not been released.

I have no doubt that they will be released real soon. We’ve seen this a lot of times. Once a huge group of young people were arrested for playing with water guns in a park.

Their goal is to strike fear and intimidation into our hearts, to diminish our hope. Actually, it’s very apt that they targeted young people who were singing “Happy”, because they don’t want that side of Iran being reported, young people who don’t care for their Islamic dressing code and are living their lives. They want to remind people who’s in charge. They do that from time to time.

From time to time the regime ups the oppression ante a bit. This is one of those times.

And it’ll pass like the rest of them.

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An Iranian researcher, writer, and teacher who is an ex-Muslim atheist currently living in one of the theocracies in the world, Iran. Interested in literature, philosophy, and political sciences, especially...