The Iranian authorities have arrested Sahar Tabar, the 22-year-old Instagram star known as the “Iranian Angelina Jolie look-alike.” She is accused, among other things, of blasphemy and incitement to violence, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Sahar Tabar caused a wave of horror two years ago when she posted images on Instagram showing emaciated eyes with puffed up lips and bulging eyes. She said that she wanted to look like the American actress Angelina Jolie at all costs. Not much later she admitted that it was ‘fake news’. The images were the result of a whole series of edits in Photoshop in combination with heavy makeup.
The Iranian Instagram star was recently arrested by the police, according to the Tasnim news agency. She is accused of blasphemy, incitement to violence and illegal acquisition of property. What she did exactly is unclear. Nor was it supposed to have followed the dress code of the country and encouraged young people to commit corruption. Her Instagram account has since been deleted.
Allegedly blasphemy is the death penalty in Iran, as can be seen in, among other things, the Freedom of Thought report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
It is not the first time that a young woman who is popular on social media has been arrested in Iran. The 19-year-old Maedeh Hojabri disappeared behind bars last year because she had posted dance videos on YouTube. Maedeh Hojabri put more than 300 videos online in which she danced without a headscarf. According to the Iranian authorities, that meant a violation of public chastity.
Three years ago, the police also arrested eight women for taking Instagram photos without a headscarf. Three boys and three girls were arrested in 2014 for playing back Pharrel Williams’ mega hit Happy and distributing the video on YouTube. They were sentenced to one year in prison and ninety lashes.
In Iran women are not allowed to dance in public. They are also required to wear a headscarf in public. Instagram is the only popular social network that is accessible in Iran. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in the country, although millions of Iranians still use the sites via VPN and other digital detours.