On Wednesday. a viral video circulating from the streets of the Islamic Republic of Iran showed a taxi driver dancing at a fish market in protest against Tehran’s harsh Islamic laws.
The name of the 70-year-old dancer, “Uncle Sadegh,” or “Sadegh the hornblower,” danced at the fish market in the coastal city of Rasht, with crowds gathering to watch and clap along to his lively singing and dancing.
Sadegh’s video exploded on social media, prompting Islamic Republic authorities to label such actions as unIslamic, leading to his Instagram account being closed.
Those who celebrated Sadegh’s dancing or followed him in support also faced arrest and punishment by authorities. A reporter in the city at the time of Sadegh’s performance told The Financial Times there was “concern that this could turn into a social movement.”
“But perhaps his intention was just to make people happy,” the reporter said.
Following Sadegh’s viral videos and the shutdown of his social media account, Iranians started posting videos on the internet in solidarity with the 70-year-old, mimicking Sadegh’s songs and dance moves.
Upon facing public pressure, the Islamic authorities lifted the ban on Sadegh’s Instagram account and allowed his previous fish market performances to become public again.
Ordinary Iranians like Maliheh, a 53-year-old Iranian housewife in Tehran, met Sadegh at the Rasht fish market last month, asking him to post videos more frequently.
“He has a cheerful vibe and exudes positive energy. What kind of a threat is he? He’s not harmed anyone but only made people smile. Plus, he chose a good fish for me,” she told The Financial Times.
On Twitter (X), the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) posted a video of young IDF women soldiers dancing in solidarity with Iranians, mimicking Sadegh’s dance. The post thanked the Iranian people for their “broad support of Israel.”
The latest actions against Sadegh come as the Islamic Republic continues its crackdown on peaceful Iranian citizens speaking out against the regime, following protests last year over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic morality police over her hijab wear.
According to human rights groups like Amnesty International, more than 300 Iranians died because of the violent response from the regime’s security forces.
In response to the protests, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have increased the crackdowns against protesters who defy the regime’s Islamic-Sharia-based laws, labeling such individuals as traitors and spies for Israel and the United States.
Despite international condemnation, the Islamic government continues to double down on its crackdowns, increasing its rate of executions against journalists, actors, human rights activists, protesters, and ordinary civilians.
Following the Oct. 7 massacre by the Hamas terror group against the Jewish state of Israel, the Islamic Republic has deployed its supporters throughout Tehran to stand in solidarity with Hamas and attack Iranian citizens who show support for Israel.
Since the massacre, reports confirmed that Tehran had a role in training and preparing Hamas for their major operation in Israel, supplying the group with weapons and military know-how against Jerusalem.