False: Iranian father who vowed to dance at his daughter's wedding danced at her funeral after she was killed for protesting the government's hijab rules.

By: Shreyashi Roy
October 3 2022

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False: Iranian father who vowed to dance at his daughter's wedding danced at her funeral after she was killed for protesting the government's hijab rules.


The Verdict False

The scene is from an Azerbaijan television series titled "Ata Ocağı" and has been available online since at least January 2018.

Claim ID 6980b02c


A video of an older man dancing in distress while people can be seen standing behind him bearing what appears to be a body is being shared on social media in the context of the protests in Iran. The claim is that this is an Iranian man is dancing at his daughter's funeral, at whose wedding he had promised to dance. According to the text inside the video, his daughter was killed by the Iranian regime amid the ongoing widespread protests. The video, with a version of Tom Odell's song 'Another Love' overlaid, has been going viral on TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter.

In fact:

However, we found that this video is not related to the current protests in Iran.

On breaking up the viral video into keyframes and reverse-searching them, we came across a 48-minute long YouTube video uploaded by a verified channel called Xəzər Film in January 2018. The video's title stated that this was episode 78 of the television series "Ata Ocağı", which deals with family conflict. In the opening credits reel of the episode, we noticed the same man seen in the viral video, who was identified as Qurban İsmayılov. While we could not understand the dialogue, the episode clearly showed the same man, dressed in the same clothing, in distress at a hospital and crying beside a young woman's bedside. The episode shows her death, leaving the family members inconsolable. At the 18-minute mark in the episode, we saw the same man opening a gate and letting in a crowd of people carrying a photo frame of the dead woman and her remains. Then roughly at the 19-minute mark, he begins dancing, and the scene becomes precisely the same as in the viral video.

Further, several journalists on Twitter have stated that the viral video did not showcase an actual scene but a fictional one from a television series. Baku-based verified journalist Cavid Ağa replied to one of the many people sharing the video on Twitter, saying that the man seen in the clip is an actor with whom he is personally acquainted. He identified him as Gurban Ismayilov, adding that this was a scene from a TV drama which aired four years ago. In a Twitter thread, he also added the link to the video. AFP journalist Kaneez Fatima who covers Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan for the news agency, also took to Twitter to call the claim out as fake news, adding that it was from the TV series.

We then searched for news reports about Gurban Ismayilov and came across one article from August 31, 2022, by Azerbaijan news outlet APA News Agency, which reported on the actor's recent heart surgery. The article also carried a photo of Ismayilov, which made it possible to identify him as the man seen in the viral video and the episode. We also found an interview with the actor, published by an outlet called Teatro in July 2018. This article, too, carried photos of Ismayilov.

Reuters reports that Iran has seen continuous protests since the custodial death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who hailed from the Iranian Kurdish town of Saquez. Amini had been arrested and reportedly beaten by Iran's police for allegedly contravening the nation's strict dress code for women, which includes wearing a hijab and loose-fitting clothes. Her death has caused major demonstrations against the regime in all parts of the Islamic Republic, cutting across societal and religious groups. Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based group, claimed on Twitter that at least 83 people had been killed amid the regime's harsh crackdown on the protestors. The report states that dozens of students and activists have been detained, and the Committee to Protect Journalists claimed on Twitter that security forces had arrested at least 28 journalists. As the protests continue despite the clerical establishment's attempts, President Ebrahim Raisi has blamed the unrest on "hostile Western powers." Images emerging from Iran's protests show women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in protest against the killing.

The verdict:

A clip from a fictional Azerbaijani TV series called "Ata Ocağı" is being used to claim that it shows an Iranian man dancing miserably at his daughter's funeral after Iranian forces killed her amid the ongoing protests. The clip, which has been online since January 2018, has no basis in reality and has no relation to the 2022 Iranian protests. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.

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