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With @TheRichKidsOfIran Instagrams, Somebody is Stirring Up a Hornet's Nest

Wanna place bets on who's behind the account?


Scroll through the Instagram account @TheRichKidsofTehran or RKOT and ask yourself: Knowing how aggressively the Iranian regime has gone after those -- particularly women -- who flaunt their sexuality and expose themselves with hair uncovered and with parts of their body exposed that in Iran are supposed to be kept covered except at home, who would be putting these clearly inflammatory images of both semi-nudity and ostentatious financial excess online?

If anything would set off riots in Iran, it would be these brazen images of young Iranians who clearly have more money than they know what to do with, thumbing their nose it Islamic rules and at the long-suffering Iranian working class, who have been enduring staggering unemployment rates, inflation that has robbed them of life savings, and repressive religious police who force them to adhere to behaviors that many would prefer to ignore, or to violate them at home at the risk of punishment if caught.

Two images from the Instagram account @TheRichKidsofTehranTwo images from the Instagram account @TheRichKidsofTehran

I have no hard evidence, but you have to wonder why anyone would have participated in this project, and about who is behind it. According to Huffington Post, the "poster or posters" behind the account have announced that its intent is "apolitical." As they wrote, apparently anonymously, in an Instagram post that has subsequently been taken down:

“We Love our city of Tehran. We are in no way trying to put a difference between rich and poor. We are trying to show the world how beautiful Tehran and people from Tehran are. The Middle East is always on TV receiving negative attention and we just wanted to show that Tehran is not like that. This page is in no way political and we never had any bad intentions. We never thought the page would make headlines all over the world. Some of the people featured in this Instagram account don’t live in Iran. #richkidsoftehran #welovetehran”

The Huff Post article also reports that at least some of the people shown in the RKOT Instagram images are the children of powerful men in Iran, and so are immune from any penalties for their exhibitionism, which may well be true. But still, it's significant that this account first came out in mid-September right at the time that the Iranian government was launching a crackdown on social media in the country. As the article points out: "Last month, for example, seven young Iranians received suspended sentences of jail time and 91 lashes for posting a video online of themselves dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy.”

story | by Dr. Radut