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Crackdown on Fashion Continues

December 6, 2016
Shima Shahrabi
3 min read
"Forbidden": Modeling is becoming a banned profession in Iran.
"Forbidden": Modeling is becoming a banned profession in Iran.
Crackdown on Fashion Continues


The Revolutionary Guards have filed a legal complaint against the lawyer representing fashion models in Shiraz facing charges of obscenity and “immoral acts.”

In June 2016, the Guards arrested 12 people in Shiraz, the capital of the Fars province, as part of Operation Spider 2, intended to crack down on Iran’s fashion industry. This week, as the verdicts against the eight women and four men were issued, one of their lawyers, Mahmoud Taravat, faced allegations as well.

Among those arrested were fashion models, fashion designers, and boutique owners. All were accused of promoting “obscenity” and “immoral acts” online, and facilitating moral corruption and prostitution through publishing obscene photographs, taking part in fashion shows that advertised western dress, and promoting western “nudity” culture through modeling.

“The defendants received sentences from five months to six years,” Taravat told IranWire. “In addition, all of them have been banned from engaging in specific professions and from leaving Iran for two years after their release.” All his clients are young, says Taravat,  “between 19 to 30-32.”

Taravat said six of the woman defendants have been banned from designing, creating or exhibiting clothing for two years after their release. Other sentences and bans include:

  • One woman was sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Three people were handed down prison sentences of four years each.
  • A husband and wife and one other woman were banned from professional photography for two years following their release from prison. The husband and wife each received eight months in prison and the woman will serve a year.
  • Another man has been sentenced to five years in prison and has been banned from designing dresses and setting up exhibitions.
  • A photographer was sentenced to prison for two years and banned from professional photography for two years following his release.
  •  Two people were sentenced to six months and five months in prison.
  • The heaviest sentence was handed down to a male reporter, who was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from working for the government and as a journalist for two years after serving his sentence.


Authorities have not officially released the names of those arrested. The recent arrests in Shiraz are part of the Revolutionary Guards-led Operation Spider 2, which saw arrests of models and people working in the fashion industry in Tehran in January 2016, and, more recently, in Qazvin. To date, dozens of people have been arrested as part of the crackdown.

In deciding the sentences, Taravat said, “the court took into account age and gender. Except for two women, men generally received heavier sentences.” The defendants were released on bail and must wait for the appeals court verdict.

Taravat believes the sentences against his clients are unreasonably heavy. “That is why we have appealed,” he says. “It is not yet decided which branch of the court will handle the appeal. We are hopeful that the [appeals] court will give the defendants justice and vacate the verdict.”

Responding to the news that the Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Corps had brought a lawsuit against Taravat after his defense of his clients, he said, “The complaint states that during the defense I insulted the Intelligence Unit, libeled them and misled the public. Whatever I said in the court was in defense of my clients’ rights, which had been violated. But they interpreted it as insult.” Taravat was summoned to Branch 6 of the Revolutionary Court and was released on bail.



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