If you guessed "people taping themselves lip-synching and dancing along to the song 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams," you're correct. Hell, I don't even like most popular music these days and try to stay away from it like it was infected with Ebola, but (a.) I heard this song when it was relatively new and (b.) actually kind of enjoyed it. How could you not?
Here's a group of young people from Tehran who made their own version a few months ago.
Well, because the government of Iran is a bunch of pricks, the people who made this video each received the punishment described in this post's title. It was vulgar, it was pornography, it had public dancing. The person who uploaded the thing to YouTube got an extra six months in jail, too.
This is not, of course, because of Islam. This is because of a bunch of pricks in the Iranian government who can't just relax and have a little fun. (What I've learned about Islam doesn't really make it sound like a whole lot of fun anyway, but you could easily say the same about Judeo-Christianity if you followed all the rules.)
Here's the deal, though. There are tons of young people in Iran; the population skews very heavily towards the younger end of the age spectrum. And kids are kids everywhere you go; I'm fortunate enough to meet a lot of kids who are originally from a lot of places, and they all want to (a.) look good, (b.) fit in, and (c.) be trendy. A girl wearing a hijab will likely be wearing makeup and colour-coordinate that hijab with the rest of her wardrobe; the boy from Nigeria who barely speaks English will want a pair of cool sneakers like everyone else is wearing.
You run a place like North Korea, you're gonna be able to tell the kids whatever you want and they'll believe you. But Iran has a history of being right in the middle of things -- be it the Silk Road hundreds of years ago, or relatively-westernized democracy before the revolution in '79 -- and they ain't givin' that up easily. Plus, Iran's government sorta wants to engage with some of the rest of the world... and that's where all those devilish outside influences can creep in. Tehran ain't Pyongyang, not by a longshot.
It's just a matter of time before Iran turns the corner, though. I give it a decade before the old crusty pricks are chucked-out and replaced by a group that's a whole hell of a lot more popular with the youth.