Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cracks in the Iranian facade

It's widely known that the wealthy in Iran are as a different from other classes as wealthy in any country. Does this cleavage indicate a division that the clerics and hardliners can no longer tolerate?

The 'rich kids of Tehran'
An Instagram account which appears to show Tehran's wealthy young elite living like their counterparts in the West has become a sensation in Iran.

If it wasn't for the Farsi number plates, you'd be forgiven for thinking the account belonged to a rich American living in sun-drenched Los Angeles. But this - apparently - is Tehran, the Iranian capital, where women are forbidden from going uncovered in public places, and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

Rich Kids of Tehran - a play on Rich Kids of Instagram - is a collection of photographs that appears to show the decadent lives of the city's gilded youth. Young women in bikinis lounge by deep blue swimming pools, while the men recline in supercars or slouch in front of tables stacked with liquor… while it is impossible to confirm where the alcohol has been photographed, it has been widely reported that drink is available to Iranians with deep pockets.
Iran newspaper on the Instagram account

The images have alarmed many in the country, and yesterday one Iranian newspaper ran pictures from the site under the headline: "The hidden lives of the rich." Most of the images are publicly available on what look like genuine Instagram accounts of the individuals in the photos.

It seems they do not fear repercussions from the Iranian authorities, who have been known to pursue other young people for engaging in subversive activities. Seven Iranians were recently issued with suspended sentences for uploading their own version of Pharrell Williams' music video Happy to YouTube.

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