The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp – an organization tasked with protecting the country’s Islamic system and preventing foreign interference – has reportedly accused Kardashian West, 35, of working with Instagram as part of a complicated ploy to corrupt the Islamic republic’s lifestyle, targeting “young people and women” with provocative photos depicting a lifestyle at odds with Islam.
According to a report from Iran Wire, a news website run by a group of Iranian journalists, the Organized Cyberspace Crimes Unit of the Revolutionary Guards targeted Kardashian West during an Iranian news program Sunday night.
“Ms. Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model so Instagram’s CEO tells her, ‘Make this native,’ ” a spokesman for the unit, Mostafa Alizadeh, reportedly said. “There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously.”
While talking to PEOPLE in Cannes, Kardashian said the accusations were news to her, as well: “What? For who?” she said of the claims. “I just landed and came here [from the airport]. I have not heard that one. Thanks for the heads-up.”
According to the report, Alizadeh claimed the aim of Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom is to make fashion modeling native to Iran and that Kardashian West is implementing his scheme for him. (Kardashian’s paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Armenia, which shares a border with Iran.)
“They are targeting young people and women,” Alizadeh said, according to Iran Wire. “Foreigners are behind it because it is targeting families. These schemes originate from around the Persian Gulf and England. When you draw the operational graph, you will see that it is a foreign operation.”
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The actions and statements are part of the OCCU’s long-running effort to combat “modeling and vulgarity” and illicit Instagram and Facebook usage, cracking down on “secret supporters and operators of Instagram” allegedly attempting to subvert the “Islamic Iranian lifestyle,” reports Iran Wire.
Several women in Iran have reportedly been arrested, and Iran Wire reports Javad Babaee, supervisor of the Prosecutor’s Office for Media Crimes, also appeared during the Iranian news program and announced they have already warned 170 individuals, 29 of whom are being targeted for prosecution.
“Our aim is to teach them a lesson and make them wake up,” Babaee reportedly said.
Reporting by MARY GREEN