Update: The Rich Kids of Tehran Instagram has been shut down by the creators, who claim they did so because of "false publicity."
#RichKidsOfTehran Instagram Page and Facebook has been shut down due to false publicity.
— #RichKidsOfTehran (@richkidsofteh) October 9, 2014
Since the buzzy Rich Kids of Tehran Instagram page began in mid-September, it's amassed more than 95,500 followers who love to gawk at the lavish lifestyles of Iran's upper-class youth. But the page has also apparently caught the attention of the country's Ministry of Culture, who has reportedly blocked the photo gallery in Iran.
Citing unnamed sources within the country, Mashable is reporting that the Instagram page has been shut down by Iran’s culture police. Instagram had been one of the few social networking sites permitted in Iran—Twitter, Facebook and You Tube have all been blocked by Iran’s culture ministry, which employs morality police to patrol the streets of Tehran. They ensure women and men adhere to strict Muslim dress codes and behavioral guidelines (no kissing in public, for example).
The Instagram images defied the country's religious laws by displaying ostentatious images of Maseratis and Porches, Rolexes, alcohol, a private jet, and stylish, bikini-clad women without hijabs or traditional headscarves. The page is in the vein of the popular Rich Kids of Instagram blog.
Rich Kids of Tehran's administrator stated on one of the photos: "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"
Many of the pictures appear to have been taken on private property away from the prying eyes of the morality police. Forty-two percent of Iran's population is 24 or younger, making it difficult for elderly religious authorities to eradicate social change.
But defying religious authorities in Iran, no matter what your social status, can attract jail time and the lash. Recently, seven Iranian youths received 91 lashes each for posting a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell's song Happy. Iranian religious authorities have also arrested two people for making a video supporting Iran's World Cup team.