DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards force has raided three underground modeling agencies, accusing the companies and their aspiring models of flouting strict Islamic dress codes for women, Iranian news agencies reported on Saturday.
General Mohsen Karimi, a Guards commander in the central city of Arak, said staff at the agencies had been arrested for “promoting vulgarity”, partly through sharing portfolio pictures of models on social media, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.
Iranian authorities have repeatedly raided underground fashion events and targeted modeling agencies that post photographs online of models wearing Western-style clothes that do not adhere to Iran’s Islamic hijab rules.
“Those who disregard norms and think they can do whatever they want in cyberspace should know that, sooner or later, the hands of the law will catch up with them,” Karimi was quoted as saying, without saying how many people had been arrested.
Iranian officials have long warned that the influence of Western and particularly U.S. culture through entertainment, social media and the Internet poses a threat to Islamic and revolutionary values.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Helen Popper