Instagram account Rich Kids of Tehran, which shows the lavish lives of wealthy youths in the Iranian capital, has sparked outrage and shed light on the wealth gap in Iran.
The account highlighted another issue: in the many pictures posted online, women are seen without the hijab, a veil which covers the head and neck and which is compulsory in Iran. People are also pictured drinking alcohol, which is forbidden in the Middle Eastern country. This suggests that the Iranian elite are immune to the country's Islamic penal code which sees corporal punishments and even executions for consuming illegal beverages and for not following the dress code.
According to Egypt-based analyst Holly Dagres on the Middle Eastern news site Al-Monitor, the Instagram account showed that "Iran's elitist youth couldn't care less which rules are being implemented; they'll just break them and continue being their spoiled, rich selves and party the night away."
London-based political activist and journalist, Professor Reza Moradi, also believes that in Iran, rich people don't risk persecution if they don't abide by the rules.
"Iranian people in general don't follow the Islamic code. Recently, we have been witnessing several episode of the so called 'civil arrest,'" he told IBTimes UK. "But with rich people it is different: according to the Islamic judiciary system, the outcome of the trial depends on the judge, he is the one who decides. Rich people have money and they use it to bribe the judges during trials.
"The majority of the elite also have close relations with people in the government, so if you are making good money in Iran, most probably you have relations with politicians and judges," he continued.
"Corruption has been on top of the media agenda in Iran for the past few years, however, what is being dicussed is only the corruption within the government."
Rich People can Afford Privacy
"Iranian elite get away with a lot more, these people are rich and so they can have privacy, they can have whatever they like," Moradi said and then added that wealthy youths not only drink alcohol but also consume drugs.
"Most parties are held in private and these people live in the same areas where politicians live, so it is highly unlikely that police will raid their houses.
"According to the Islamic law, somebody who is caught consuming alcohol receives a warning or is fined the first time, is flogged and imprisoned for up to two years the second time. The third time offenders can be executed. For consuming drugs there are harsh punishments as well. But only the poor are arrested. Rich people don't have their homes raided by the authorities. Nobody touches them."
'Rich Kids of Tehran' Shows Inequality
According to Moradi, the Instagram account shows inequality in the country, where he said the elite group is very small.
"The gap between rich and poor is massive. One might have the illusion that the Iranian Islamic regime is in favour of the poor, that it takes care of the poor, but it's never been the case. The Iranian system is a very harsh capitalist system in favour of the rich and the elite," said Moradi.