close button
Switch to Iranwire Light?
It looks like you’re having trouble loading the content on this page. Switch to Iranwire Light instead.
switch sites
Features

The Battle Against Models and “Cultural Infiltration”

March 10, 2017
IranWire
2 min read
The Battle Against Models and “Cultural Infiltration”

Authorities in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan have identified and prosecuted up to 16 people working in the fashion industry over the last year, according to a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) [link in Persian].

On March 6, Colonel Mohsen Mahmoudi from the province’s cyber police unit said “criminals” in three “gangs” had been “dealt with.” He said the province was one of five in Iran that recorded a high volume of online criminal activity compared with elsewhere in the country, adding that many of the servers that had been used to carry out crimes online were located in these provinces. “Around 80 percent of [Telegram] channels with criminal content were identified [but] the servers for the remaining 20 percent are not inside Iran,” Mahmoudi announced, adding that most cybercrime occurred on Instagram and Telegram platforms. 

“Men make up the majority of cybercriminals in East Azerbaijan,” Mahmoudi said, “and their average age is between 17 and 25."

In the last several years Islamic Republic authorities and security agencies have stepped up their “search and destroy” operations against activities they define to be cybercrimes, and despite Mahmoudi’s comment about male offenders, many women have also been targeted, including fashion models. These cybercrimes include comments — some of which criticize Iranian authorities —  posted on social networks and fashion websites. in March 2106, the Center for Organized Crime in Cyberspace launched Operation Spider 2, and blocked the Instagram pages of several fashion models, most of them women. Authorities stated that they had opened "security cases" against some of the models in response to hundreds of Facebook posts, and arrested other people for “promoting a culture of promiscuity, weakening and rejecting the institution of family, ridiculing religious values and beliefs, promoting relationships outside moral rules, and publishing the private pictures of young women.”

Late last year, a prosecutor from Qazvin province said judicial authorities would deal harshly with crimes linked to social networking sites, and emphasized the danger of “cultural infiltration” linked to these activities. “We will take action against any illegal advertisement on social networks,” said Esmail Sadeghi Nyarki, the province’s Revolutionary Prosecutor on November 14, 2016. He also reiterated the importance of women wearing the Islamic hijab properly — many of the models arrested during last year’s crackdown had posted photographs of themselves without headscarves on social networking sites such as Instagram. These cybercrimes were part of the “soft war” against the Islamic Republic, he said, and women must adhere to the Islamic dress code in order to mitigate the dangers of unIslamic cultural influences. 

On February 8, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, the Deputy Prosecutor-General of Iran, reported that a force of around 18,000 volunteers from the Basij organization regularly monitor the internet and social networks [link in Persian]. They then report any infraction that they come across.The Basij organization is an officially-sanctioned paramilitary and vigilante volunteer force and a branch of the Revolutionary Guards.

comments

Features

New Charges Against Reformist Journalist Soroush Farhadian

March 9, 2017
IranWire
1 min read
New Charges Against Reformist Journalist Soroush Farhadian