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This photo of a couple kissing during Iran’s protests has gone viral

Diego Mendoza is a Breaking News reporter. You can reach him at dmendoza@semafor.com. Sign up for Flagship, our daily newsletter that distills what’s happening in the world into a concise, insightful morning read.

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A photo that appears to show a couple kissing in public during a protest in Iran has gone viral, with people hailing it as the "kiss of a revolution."

Iranian couple kissing during protests
Anonymous Twitter user/Twitter
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The photo of the couple -- whose identities remain unknown -- was taken in the southwestern city of Shiraz on Tuesday, during a protest over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who died in the custody of Iran's moral police.

Public displays of affection are prohibited under Iran's government, and police have been known to forbid even married couples from holding hands.

The person who took the photo of the couple told Semafor that it widely resonated with people because, “A picture of people kissing is beautiful everywhere in the world.”

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She asked to remain anonymous for her safety. The kiss is a “small victory,” she said, and hoped that the photo inspired her fellow protesters in challenging the regime.

“This kiss happened while men and women were fighting together, fighting for the freedom of the Islamic Republic,” she said. “I think this will only make more people speak together and fight with more enthusiasm.”

Another photo of a different couple who appeared to be kissing in Iran was also widely shared on social media, but Semafor was unable to independently verify it.

Anti-regime protests — sparked by Amini’s death and led mostly by women and young people — have roiled the country for months. Thousands of protesters have since been arrested, hundreds have died during the crackdown, and one protester was recently sentenced to death.

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