Iran Arrests Angelina Jolie ‘Lookalike’ for Instagram Posts

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Word has spread that Iran has arrested Instagrammer, Shahar Tabar. Tabar became well-known across social media for her unusual appearance – it was speculated that she had undergone over fifty cosmetic operations.

The Insta star has since refuted the claims and insisted that, although she has undergone some surgery, most of her posts are photoshopped. Tabar also stated that she uses a lot of makeup and paint, which helps to give her the unusual look. Her appearance has been likened to that of Angelina Jolie and the Corpse Bride and she has clearly infuriated the Iranian State, continue scrolling to learn why – and to learn more about this oppressive tactic by the Iranian government to cyber police anyone not following their regime.


As you can see, this young woman certainly has an unusual look.

Tabar has been compared to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

With people debating what inspired Shahar Tabar’s look, the Instagrammer has collected a variety of fans, mythologizing who she is and what she stands for.

Speaking out about the mystery surrounding why she underwent all that surgery and such, the Instagrammer stated: “I did not even think about being like Jolie. Also, I did not want to resemble the cartoon character the Corpse Bride.” But there’s no denying that Sahar does now bear a striking resemblance to both Jolie and the Corpse Bride. She accepts this and stated: “Now I understand that I have something to do with them, but I am a muse myself and remembering someone is not an end in itself.”

It was merely a coincidence that getting lip fillers, liposuction, and a nose job made her look like Hollywood A-lister, Angelina Jolie.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, hijabs have been compulsory. The rule clearly states that women must adorn loose-fitting clothing and a headscarf in public.

Introducing: the debate surrounding whether or not the Internet is a public space…

In one of Sahar Tabar’s rare none-photoshopped selfies, the Instagrammer is not wearing a hijab. You could argue that taking a photo at home, where you are allowed to not adorn a scarf, is perfectly acceptable. You could also argue that sharing it in the public sphere of Instagram goes against the Islamic State’s regime.    

BBC Global News Journalist, Roja Assadi spoke up about the crackdown on “Instagram influencers” by the Iranian government. She explained that, despite there being no law in Iran about what you post online, they have adopted applying the same constitutional laws they have elsewhere to that which is posted online and on social media. Assadi explains that the Iranian cyber police will target people who are “not following Islamic ethical code, from clothes to behavior.”  

In a fascinating piece posted on Medium, Kaveh Azarhoosh exposes the dark world of Iran’s cyber police. In a notion passed by The Islamic State of “self-policing” over 42,000 civilians volunteer to police the web, ensuring that Iranians are following the strict Islamic code. We can assume that it was through this system that Sahar Tabar was caught out.

Despite the dangers of contesting the Islamic State regime, there are people protesting the Sahar’s arrest.  

In November 2012, the Iranian government arrested, tortured and ultimately murdered blogger, Sattar Beheshti. Beheshti was a young blogger who had written criticism of the government and the regime.  

The murder of the Iranian blogger resulted in a public outcry and human rights organizations across the world spoke out. The government was forced to lead an investigation. The public demanded that the Chief of FATA Seyyed Kamal Hadianfar was replaced, but after much agro, nothing changed. FATA continued its online censorship and nothing could be done.

A young woman has been arrested by the Islamic Republic for what they have deemed “blasphemous behavior.” No one is aware of what is being done to her or whether she will be released anytime soon. This is an extremely distressing situation, and yet there are people on Twitter that would rather make fun of her appearance.

The Iranian government does not have a good track record with its treatment of political prisoners. It seems even ridiculous to consider Tabar to be a political activist.  Frankly, I feel as though she is just a young woman exploring her sense of self and identity through art.

Previously, Sahar stated that painting her face and contorting the images of herself through the medium of photoshop was a way of expressing herself. It is this self-expression that has clearly disheveled some people in the FATA cyber-police.

In June 2018, eighteen-year-old, Maedeh Hojabri was arrested for posting videos of herself dancing on Instagram. This wasn’t the first time that the State has arrested people for dancing, back in 2014, a group of young Iranians was arrested for posting a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” The arrest of Hojabri caught widespread attention, and her situation struck a chord with people all over the world.

That being said, despite public outcry and a movement of defiance taking place in July of 2018, with hundreds of Iranians posting videos of themselves dancing on Insta, the State still won.  

Hojabri’s face was apparently obscured, but it was clear that she was tearful as she expressed her deep regret for posting the “inappropriate” dance videos to Instagram. The Instagrammer, who had over sixty-thousands followers prior to her arrest, has now completely disappeared. She has totally vanished from the public eye and her whereabouts remain unknown. The parading of the young woman on television caused outrage but this did nothing to prevent the government from furthering its surveillance on social media.  

In a push to maintain Iran’s strict rules of the Islamic State, they have already been implementing systematic filtering surveillance on Facebook, Telegram, and Twitter. It seems after the “dance fiasco” Insta was next on the list.

Women could wear skirts, trousers, whatever they wanted, and headscarves were not compulsory.

If you are not aware of what happened following the Islamic State revolution of 1979, then I encourage you to read up on it. The wonderful graphic novel, Persepolis, written by Marjane Satrapi is the story of an Iranian woman who lived through the revolution and was subjected to changing herself to fit the regime.

Persepolis was also turned into a movie in 2007.

If you’re not much of a reader, you can get a copy of the movie. It really is an important story in understanding the oppression of women in the Iranian state. Many people do not understand that the headscarf is supposed to be a choice; the way it is enforced in Iran has nothing to do with religion and has everything to do with political control and the oppression of women.  

We hope that Sahar Tabar is in good health and is released soon. We hope that this young woman does not disappear like Maedeh Hojabri or get murdered in custody like Sattar Beheshti. We hope that the freedoms of those living in the Islamic State of Iran are returned to them soon. Continue scrolling to learn about how Joss Stone was booted out of Iran earlier this year…