An 18-year-old girl was recently arrested in Iran after posting videos of herself dancing on Instagram.

On Friday, Maedeh Hojabri confessed to "breaking moral norms" during a state TV video broadcast, according to The Independent, which activists are calling a forced appearance.

The teenage gymnast reassured authorities that it was not her intention to do so. "It wasn't for attracting attention," she said, according to The Guardian.

"I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same … I didn't work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics."

Hojabri had uploaded around 300 videos to her account, in which she can be seen dancing in both Iranian and Western styles, without the compulsory hijab.


Following the teenager's arrest, several hashtags erupted online in protest of the country's decision. 

As a show of solidarity with Hojabri, numerous women began posting videos of them dancing under the hashtag 'let us dance to support'.

"We're all dancing as much as we can"

"I am dancing in the street in Iran to be their voices"

"A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having"

The crackdown on dancers in Iran

This wouldn't be the first time Iranian authorities crack down on "dancers" in the country. According to local media reports, three other individuals have been detained on similar charges in recent weeks. 

The individuals were eventually released on bail. 

Dancing with the opposite sex is also strictly prohibited in the country. In August 2017, six people were arrested for performing Zumba in the country.

The arrest came a couple months after the head of the Iranian "Sports for All Federation" effectively banned Zumba classes in the country for "being contrary to Islamic precepts".

In 2014, authorities sentenced six Iranians to suspended prison terms and 91 lashes after dancing to Pharrell William's song "Happy" on rooftops across Tehran.

Iranian women's fight against compulsory hijab

In Iran, women are required to wear the hijab in public. 

Last year, widescale protests erupted in Iran in objection of the compulsory hijab in the Islamic Republic. Since December, more than 30 Iranian women have been arrested by authorities for removing their veils in public.

A 31-year-old female demonstrator became iconic in December after an image of her removing her headscarf in Tehran went viral. 

She became known as the "Girl of Enghelab Street", referencing the place where she carried out the defiant act.

After being detained for several weeks, the woman - identified as Vida Movahed - was eventually released.

The hijab has not always been a requirement for women in Iran

In fact, in the 1930s, the country's ruler Reza Pahlavi banned the garment altogether.

Then, following the country's violent revolution in the 1970s and the overthrow of the ruling family, the veil became a mandatory garment for women.

Iran's Head of State Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini announced the requirement in 1979. At the time, following his decision, tens of thousands of women marched in protest.