Iran recently erupted in country-wide protests that brought out crowds both condemning and supporting the government.
The demonstrators in Iran mobilized against issues including the country’s economic woes. Gradually, anti-government protesters across the country turned to the same target: a wealthy elite that has reaped the benefits of a top-down theocratic regime.
At least a part of this seems to have been spurred by a new openness from Iranian millennials, who hardly keep their wealth a secret, especially in the age of social media.
“When the occasional Maserati roars through the crowded streets of Tehran, past crowded buses and shabby domestic sedans, pedestrians sometimes unleash streams of curses in its wake,” Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim write in the Los Angeles Times.
The Los Angeles Times used the popular Rich Kids of Tehran Instagram account as an example, where “attractive 20-somethings flaunt $1,000 Hermes sandals and frolic poolside at lavish mansions in a capital where, perhaps in another part of town, the desperate hawk their own kidneys to feed their families.”
As the Iranian journalist Amir Ahmadi Arian puts it in an op-ed article for The New York Times, “Wealthy young Iranians act like a new aristocratic class unaware of the sources of their wealth.”
“They brazenly drive Porsches and Maseratis through the streets of Tehran before the eyes of the poor and post about their wealth on Instagram,” Arian writes.
Inequalities have been building up for the past decade but were put in plain view after President Hassan Rouhani introduced an austerity budget.
While the working-class protesters have shouted “Death to Rouhani” and “Death to the dictator,” the Rich Kids of Tehran Twitter account has been very supportive of Rouhani and the Iranian government in the past.