A new Instagram account that flaunts the posh lives of Iran’s elite youth has recently been blocked by the Iranian government. The page documents the lives of the sons and daughters of Tehran’s one-percenters, and is littered with pictures of extremely rich Iranians. Somewhat similar to the original ‘Rich Kids of Instagram’ account, these 20-something Iranians boast obscene wealth in the form of lavish lifestyles which includes European supercars, luxury watches, large mansions, haute couture… and an overall disregard for the Iranian government. The only difference is these kids are gallivanting around The Islamic Republic of Iran!
The viral account has gained much attention, primarily due to its inclusions of alcohol and women sans hijab. Some girls even appear in short skirts, boob-tubes as well as bikinis… attracting nearly 100,000 followers since its first post on September 13th.
According to their page administrator, the pictures were taken down from the account due to ‘false publicity’ and he/she tweeted “#RichKidsOfTehran Instagram Page and Facebook has been shut down due to false publicity.”
This Instagram account comes just months after the Iranian government cracked down on social media use. Instagram is one of the few social media networks still accessible in Iran. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have long been banned, although many Iranians still access them via other tech-routes.
In May, eight Iranians were sentenced to a combined 123 years in prison after insulting their President, Hassan Rouhani, on Facebook. In July, another eight Facebook-ers were sentenced to a combined 127 years in jail for posting propaganda and insults against Islam. Most recently, seven Iranian youths, including girls, were sentenced to jail time and 91 lashes a-piece for posting a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell’s super-hit number ‘Happy’.
According to the London Times, an IT consultant based in Tehran, “Most of them have fathers who are untouchable. If they get in trouble it will disappear”. The ‘Rich Kids of Tehran’ have nothing to worry about: many of the teens shown on the account are obviously the children of Iran’s powerful ruling class – commoners wouldn’t dare take pictures of themselves drinking alcohol in scantily clad attire.
In response to the rich, a second account titled ‘Poor Kids of Tehran’ was set-up by an outraged Iranian Twitter user to combat the portrayal of Iran’s societal bubble and shed light on the country’s widespread poverty. The page’s admin tweeted on Monday that 99 percent of Iran’s assets are controlled by 1 percent of the population – Iran’s one-percenters have mostly amassed their fortunes from corrupt practices and the black market. After the West levied sanctions on Iran in response to Tehran’s nuclear energy program, the rich were forced to make their living under the radar.
Though the pictures have since been removed and the account suspended, the message has been received loud and clear. Regardless of where you live and what the norms of society are, the rich will always be perched on their own little cloud floating above the rest. You know what they say… If you’ve got it, flaunt it!