On Sunday, the Islamic Republic announced the arrest of eight women whose photographs were featured on Instagram. The models reportedly failed to adhere to stifling Islamic style dress codes rigorously enforced by Iran’s oppressive mullahs. More specifically, they posed without wearing religiously sanctioned head scarves designed to cover exposed hair.
Following her arrest, one of the models was forced to appear on Iranian TV in the presence of two prosecutors. Wearing a black head scarf and matching black gloves, she was recorded – almost certainly under duress – sanctioning the government’s Orwellian-like actions, warning other Iranian women that they “can be certain that no man would want to marry a model whose fame has come by losing her honor.” As an aside, when Iranian navy pirates operating off Farsi Island kidnapped 10 U.S. Navy sailors in the Arabian Gulf in January, they forced a female sailor into Sharia compliance, requiring her to don a hijab.
The arrests come in the midst of a yet another government crackdown on social media and dissent. The anti-social media operation, ominously codenamed “Spider II” has thus far netted dozens of models, photographers, makeup artists and other dangerous enemies of the state. Also arrested was Iranian blogger Mahdi Boutorabi who reportedly covered Iran’s rigged 2009 elections. It appears that periodically, the mullahs get bored or insecure and conjure up ways to make the lives of their citizens more miserable.
But the Islamic Republic’s absurdity doesn’t end there. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard bizarrely accused reality star (and not much else) Kim Kardashian-West of being behind the nefarious plot to undermine or otherwise taint the morals of Iran’s young women.
Mostafa Alizadeh, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guard’s Organized Cyberspace Crimes Unit stated that, “Ms. Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model so Instagram’s CEO tells her, ‘make this native.’” He added that “There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously.”
In February, Iranian authorities engaged in a similar crackdown, targeting a benign rock group known as “Confess.” Authorities charged the group’s members with “blasphemy,” writing “satanic” lyrics and meeting with forbidden foreign radio stations. The charge of “blasphemy” carries a punishment of execution. Others in the Islamic Republic have been arrested and sentenced to lashings for merely appearing in a YouTube video while dancing and lip syncing to Pharrell’s hit song “Happy.”
Conspiracy theories and political and religious oppression are the norm in the Islamic Republic. Let us dispel with the notion that there are “moderate” forces within the Iranian government working to change things for the better. Power in that tyrannical regime vests with two entities – Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” the Holocaust-denying Ayatollah Khamenei and his thuggish henchmen of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij militia.
The Obama administration and its “echo chamber” (as Obama shill Ben Rhodes puts it) would like us to think that there are moderate elements and reformers with whom we can deal. That notion is an absolute farce but continues to gain credence in some leftist circles with vested interests in propagating this false narrative. For example, while the New York Times reported the arrest of the Iranian models, it made sure to qualify its reportage by informing its readers that the crackdown was the work of “hard liners.”
In the meantime, while Ben Rhodes is creating his spin and John Kerry is thanking the Iranians for kidnapping and mistreating U.S. Navy sailors, the mullahs of the Islamic republic continue to crack down on dissent and execute human rights activists, continue to advance their ballistic missile program (in defiance of UNSC resolutions) and continue to cut a path of misery and destruction in the Mideast, from Syria to Yemen.
The administration has done its best to convince the American public that Iran can be trusted to keep agreements. This rests on the false and dangerous narrative that there exists a power struggle in Iran between moderate reformers who have the support of the people and an assortment of hard line religious extremists and anti-Western zealots. Narratives running counter to this fantasy-like version of events are dismissed by the administration.
Even worse, it has now come to light that the Obama administration has asked the Iranians not to publicize their illicit ballistic missile activities for fear of unsettling opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Meanwhile John Kerry is quietly attempting to encourage various European banking institutions to do business with the Iranians despite the fact that the IRGC controls vast swaths of Iran’s economy.
No matter how much spin the Obama administration attempts to place on the merits of the JCPOA and no matter how much it attempts to cover its tracks, it cannot hide the fact that the Islamic Republic is a pernicious regime that cannot be trusted and represents a malignancy that sooner or later will have to be confronted. The only question that remains is whether Iran will have nuclear bombs when that time arrives.