Iranian police have arrested eight people in a new crackdown targeting “un-Islamic acts” online such as female models posting images of themselves without their hair covered, state media reported Monday, part of a larger cultural struggle in the Islamic Republic over the country’s future.
The arrests follow the detentions of artists, poets, journalists and activists as moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s administration secured a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.
The arrests and harsh sentences handed down signal that hard-liners in the police and judiciary, who were unable to stop the accord and fear looser social norms will weaken the Islamic Republic, still hold significant power in the country.
State television said this latest operation, called Spider II, particularly targeted users of the Instagram picture-sharing application. Instagram, owned by Facebook, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.