Iran arrests six for dancing Zumba

Iran arrests six for dancing ZumbaIran has arrested six people for teaching Zumba classes to children, accusing them of trying to "change lifestyles" in the Islamic Republic. The group of four men and two women were charged over their dancing and for not adhering to the country's strict hijab dress code. “The members of a network teaching and filming Western dances have been identified and arrested," said Hamid Damghani, an official with the Revolutionary Guards.  He said the Latin American fitness classes had been mixed and videos of their practices were published on social media.  "They were arrested by the Guards' intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips… as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab,” Mr Damghani said.  Iranian chess players Mitra Hejazipour (L) and Sara Khademalsharieh play at the Chess Federation in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2016.  Credit: AFP They were charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab – Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public. Dancing is banned in Iran for women in front of men outside their immediate families, but in recent years Zumba and other dances have been banned even in women-only gyms, even if the rules are widely flouted. In June this year, the country's sporting federation said the exercise included "rhythmic motions and dance and are unlawful in any shape and title". "The promotion and teaching of dancing in the name of sport in women's gyms is a serious issue," Mr Damghani added. One gym manager told the Iranian daily newspaper Aftab-e Yazd that he would continue to teach Zumba but call it something else. "We need to have these classes. We have been teaching Zumba for 12-13 years and if they ban it, we will continue our class under a different name," he said. In 2014, seven young Iranians were arrested for dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit "Happy" in a home-made video that went viral on the internet. They were given suspended jail and lashing sentences.

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