Kim Kardashian is known as a lot of things — a wife, mother, sister, model, reality TV star, and businesswoman — but an international spy? Really? Really. Iran thinks Kardashian is working as a secret agent, trying to influence the country's young women through her provocative Instagram posts. Though the claims may seem absurd, Iran is not joking around.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp, an agency that polices domestic culture and combats the influence of outsiders on Iranians, accused the celeb of working with Instagram in a coordinated effort to promote a lifestyle contradictory to Islam. Kardashian often posts gorgeous, sexy photos of herself in skin-tight dresses, topless, and even completely nude, leading the government to believe she's trying to corrupt its women.
"Ms. Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model so Instagram’s CEO tells her, 'Make this native,'" Mostafa Alizadeh, a spokesperson for the corp's Organized Cyberspace Crimes Unit told an Iranian news program. "There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously."
Kardashian isn't traveling to Iran, nor circulating photos of herself in favor of an "immoral" lifestyle, but the government is worried about her popularity on social media. Iran has strict moral codes, requiring all women in the country (including visitors) to wear head scarfs to cover their hair, and young women seeing foreigners like Kardashian — who expresses herself however she wants, and owns her body — can diminish their already faltering obedience of Iranian moral codes.
The cyber unit's accusations are part of "Operation Spider 2," an effort to stop social media posts considered illegal in Iran. According to Iran Wire, the group plans to prosecute 29 people involved in modeling, fashion houses, and photography for posts "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."
Iranian models shown online not wearing head scarfs can be prosecuted for breaking the morality law, even if they cover their hair when out in public. Former model Elham Arab had her Instagram account shut down and was questioned by prosecutors on live TV about her alleged online criminal activity. She warned other young women about the consequences of participating in the illegal modeling industry, saying, "You can be certain that no man would want to marry a model whose fame has come by losing her honor."
Iran hasn't said what action it plans to take against Kardashian, just that it views her autonomy over her body and image as a serious threat. The government doesn't have the power to kick her off Instagram, but could try to block Iranians from viewing her accounts.