Three children, a boy and two girls, are being prosecuted for making "immoral clips" on Instagram, according to Iranian state media.
The three youngsters had a shared channel in which they appeared in short videos together. In the clips, according to the IRGC-aligned Tasnim News Agency, "Two underage girls are disturbingly present as 'his [the boy's] beauty queens'. The dialogue exchanged between them shows that they are merely the executors of pre-determined scenarios written by an adult."
Nevertheless, Colonel Ramin Pashaei, the cultural and social head of Iran's FATA Cyber Police, told Tasnim a case had been filed against those involved, "but because we are dealing with children and adolescents, the approach is different."
The two girls in the video, he said, had already been summoned, charged and sentenced by an unnamed judicial authority, and "judicial action" was being taken against the operator of the Instagram page.
In one of the clips, the boy was said to be gifted a horse worth "one to two billion tomans" (US $31-62,000). A separate editorial published by Tasnim, entitled "On the immoral fantasies of an Instagram boy and two girls" said the short clips were made "at great financial expense", were aimed at "monetizing followers" and had a "capitalist aspect".
No information was released on the content of the videos, what the charges against any of those involved were, or even the ages or approximate locations in Iran of the three children.
In the past few years children have begun to appear more frequently in online advertising in Iran, including on brands' Instagram channels, often to build an early career or earn some money at the behest of their parents.
The Islamic Republic takes a hard line against children appearing in online content that appears frivolous or "decadent", or involves music. In May 2014 seven children were arrested and abused for making a video in which they danced along to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy". Another group of young people in Dezful, Khuzestan were prosecuted last year for singing and playing the guitar on camera.
The Iranian statte consistently uses children for propaganda purposes. Most recently, hundreds of primary school-aged children appeared - some under duress - in a high-budget music video singing "Hello Commander", a hymn about them sacrificing their lives for the Twelfth Imam and Ali Khamenei.