Iran has 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 100,000 followers, with its contributors saying they wanted to show a different 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 parties and women 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.
The Instagram account has since been frozen by its users, with the explanation that it has been "shut down due to the high amount of false publicity".
Since earlier this month richkidsoftehran also has had a page on Facebook, which like Twitter and YouTube is inaccessible in Iran on the grounds that they 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.
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.