Iran on Thursday blocked access to an Instagram page devoted to the lifestyle of Tehran's young elite that stirred indignation and spawned a rival site on how the majority live.
“Richkidsoftehran”, created in September on the photo-sharing service, attracted almost 90,000 followers, with its contributors saying they wanted to show another image of Iran from the stereotypes in the West.
Its photo gallery was filled with Ferraris, Maseratis, luxury watches, expensive homes in upmarket northern Tehran – “all the accessories a Persian boy needs”.
It also showed drink-fuelled parties and girls in Western dress, despite the ban on alcohol in Iran, where women are obliged to wear headscarves.
On Thursday, the Instagram page was blocked because of its “vulgar” content, according to weblognews.ir, a news site considered close to Islamic conservatives in the sanctions-hit country.
“These kinds of shows are for the people who are empty inside and now they want to fill that emptiness by showing off,” read one negative comment on the Instagram page.
There is also a “RichKidsofTehran” Facebook page. Facebook, like Twitter and YouTube, is inaccessible in Iran on the grounds that the sites undermine Islamic values.
Hafte-Sobh newspaper took aim at “a class of young people who stubbornly and with the backup of their wealth, are having fun and live their own special way of life, and the Iranian system cannot touch them.”
Taadol newspaper poured scorn on “a class of nouveau riche who cropped up like mushrooms” during the 2005-2013 presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Government “stocks and corruption allowed the birth of these nouveaux riches in an extraordinary way, especially through commerce,” it said.
The rival site, “poorkidsoftehran”, pokes fun at their rich counterparts. Instead of a Porsche, it features the keys of a Saipa Pride, one of the cheapest cars on the Iranian market.
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