A court in Iran has reportedly jailed a young couple for 10 years for dancing in front of a Tehran landmark in a video posted on social media.
The clip, which went viral, was seen as a symbol of defiance against the regime and came amid widespread protests against a crackdown by authorities in which hundreds if not thousands have been killed.
Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, both 21, had been arrested in November after the video, in which they danced in front of the Azadi Tower.
Haghighi did not wear a headscarf – in defiance of the Islamic republic's strict rules for women – while women are not allowed to dance in public in Iran, let alone with a man.
They were each sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison and banned from leaving the country, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the BBC.
They were convicted of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution” and “gathering with the intention of disrupting national security,” according to the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency.
The regime is handing out heavy sentences to anyone defying its strict rules, the BBC said
The UN is investigating the regime’s response to protests, which erupted in September after the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by morality police for breaking Iran's rules on headscarves.
The demonstrations spread to dozens of cities and universities and represented one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.