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Iranian girl held for dancing Instagram post

Reuters ANKARA (Reuters) — Iranians on social media mocked clerical rulers after the hard-line judiciary arrested a teenage girl for posting on Instagram videos of herself dancing in her room.

Critics of the arrest of gymnast Maedeh Hojabri, 18, used the hashtag #Dancingisnotacrime and Iranian women posted videos of themselves dancing in public.

“You will be laughed at if you tell people anywhere in the world that 17- and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free,” wrote Iranian blogger and political dissident Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki.

Iranian state TV aired a video in which she apologized for “breaking moral norms” but said any breach was not her intention. Some Iranian news websites reported three other people had been arrested on similar charges in the past weeks. The reports said they were released on bail.

“I had no bad intentions ... I did not want to encourage others to do the same ... I did not work with a network,” a crying Hojabri told TV on Friday.

Before her account was blocked by Iranian authorities, Hojabri had posted around 300 videos on her Instagram account in which she appeared without wearing the compulsory Islamic headscarf.

Under Iran’s Islamic Sharia law, women are required to wear headscarves and modest clothing in public, and are banned from dancing in public. The potential charges against Hojabri were not specified, but she is likely to be accused of running afoul of Islamic codes of behavior that call for modesty in attire and behavior.

Access to many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Telegram messaging app, is blocked in Iran. Iranian officials said last week the judiciary was considering blocking access to Instagram.

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