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Iran arrests models for not wearing headscarves in online photos

By Allen Cone

TEHRAN, May 17 (UPI) -- Eight female models have been arrested in Iran for not wearing mandatory head scarfs in posted photos online.

Others involved in the country's modelling industry, including hair stylists and photographers, have also been been targeted by the government for activities deemed "un-Islamic."

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Female models posted photos online without hijabs, and with their hair showing.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei two years ago said modelling is permissible under Islam.

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Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, Tehran's prosecutor general, said on state television Sunday that crackdowns were part of two operations, Spider I and Spider II.

"The enemy is investing in order to create a generation without any willpower," the prosecutor said of social media. "We must refrain from any actions that run counter to the values of the establishment."

Elham Arab, a 26-year-old female model, accompanied the prosecutor as he met with reporters to discuss the recent arrests. She expressed remorse about her past modeling and pictures of herself unveiled posted online.

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"I wanted to be seen," Arab said, when asked why she had been a model. "There is also good money in modelling in Iran," she added, according to news website Alef. She said she earned about $2,800 a month as a model.

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Arab posted pictures on Instagram of herself in bridal gowns with dyed blond hair.

Javad Babaei, who leads the judiciary's computer crimes department, told state television that 20 percent of Instagram users in Iran were involved in modeling as models, photographers and stylists.

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Jafari-Dolatabadi did not reveal the identities of those detained. Some models have apparently been released on bail and at least a couple have since fled the country.

A photo posted by Elham Arab (@elhamarab__) on

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