The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed that American celebrity Kim Kardashian was an agent employed by photo-centric social media site Instagram to corrupt the country by posting immodest pictures to encourage women to follow her example.
The aim of the “plot” is to make fashion modeling popular in Iran and lead people away from Islamic values, asserted Mostafa Alizadeh, the spokesman for the Guards’ Organized Cyberspace Crimes Unit, on a TV show recently, the Iranwire website reported Monday.
“Ms. Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model so Instagram’s CEO tells her, ‘Make this native [in Iran],'” Alizadeh said. “There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously.”
“They are targeting young people and women,” he explained. “Foreigners are behind it because it is targeting families. These schemes originate from around the Persian Gulf and England. When you draw the operational graph, you will see that it is a foreign operation.”
Kardashian, an internationally known television reality star, has more than 70 million followers on her Instagram page. Her photo feed includes a generous sprinkling of images showing the celebrity in revealing clothing, or in none at all.
Alizadeh made the comments on a Sunday night show where he was joined by supervisor of the Prosecutor’s Office for Media Crimes, Javad Babaee.
According to a report from the BBC, Alizadeh declared “sterilizing popular cyberspaces is on our agenda. We carried out this plan in 2013 with Facebook, and now Instagram is the focus.”
The claim comes as Iran cracks down on local models who post pictures of themselves on Instagram. A Revolutionary Guards online operation titled “Spider 2” has over the past two years ago identified 170 alleged offenders of which 29 are to be prosecuted.
These accounts were “promoting a culture of promiscuity, weakening and rejecting the institution of family, ridiculing religious values and beliefs, promoting relationships outside moral rules, and publishing the private pictures of young women,” the Guards have said of the crackdown.
“Our aim is to teach them a lesson and make them wake up,” Babaee said. “In many cases, a warning was sufficient and we did not take legal action. Of the 29 individuals, eight have been arrested and their cases are being processed.”
A husband-and-wife pair of models, Hamid Fadaei and Elnaz Goldrokh, is said to have fled Iran for Dubai amid the crackdown and was posting pictures from the Gulf country.
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Another model, Elham Arab, known for her blonde hair and wedding-dress portraits, appeared on Iranian TV making what seems to be a forced confession and sporting brown hair under a black chador.
Charged with “promoting western promiscuity,” she was made to give public “self-criticism,” the Guards said.