She's the world's most recognisable reality TV star, a model, and a business mogul.

But if the Iranian government is to be believed, Kim Kardashian can add secret agent to the list of personal accomplishments.

The authoritarian regime has accused the celebrity of working as a spy on behalf of Instagram.

Government clerics claim the notorious exhibitionist uses the social media platform she loves so much to encourage young people to shun conservative traditions and subvert Islamic values.


In a country where women risk imprisonment and lashings for not being covered up, Kim Kardashian's stated commitment to the naked selfie had made her an enemy of the state.

When you're like I have nothing to wear LOL

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Officials of the country's Revolutionary Guards Corp, an organisation set up to help protect the country's Islamic traditions and prevent foreign interference, have questioned the real reason for Kim's internet popularity.

Known as the morality police, they apparently believe she has been recruited by Instagram boss Kevin Systrom to target "young people and women" to lead them astray.

Read more:
Are Bennifer getting back together?
Star thrilled to strip for Thrones

"Ms Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model so Instagram's CEO tells her, 'Make this (modelling) native'," Mostafa Alizadeh, a spokesman for the militant group, reportedly told local news outlet Iran Wire.

"There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously," he said.

It's not the first time the regime has taken issue with a Western tech company. In 2012, Iran accused Google of being a spy engine.

The conspiratorial accusations levelled at the Instagram star came as a surprise to the 35-year-old who was informed of the odd report upon arrival in France for the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday.

"What? For who?" she exclaimed to after hearing the bizarre accusation for the first time. "I just landed and came here (from the airport). I have not heard that one," she said.

Iran cracks down on social media

Iran believe Kim Kardashian encourages young people to shun conservative traditions and subvert Islamic values. Photo / AP
Iran believe Kim Kardashian encourages young people to shun conservative traditions and subvert Islamic values. Photo / AP

The Iranian Revolution of 1979 saw a pro-western monarchy overthrown in favour of an Islamic Republic. Since then Iran and the West have had a tumultuous and very suspicious relationship.

During the reign of reformist president Mohammad Khatami in the 1990s and early 2000s, many Iranian citizens began pushing the boundaries of what was socially acceptable. Women began partially showing their hair and wearing Western-style clothing with the hijab.

But in recent months the government has moved to crackdown on such behaviour and authorities have began targeting models on Instagram for showing their hair.

According to reports, Iranian morality police have been going undercover, causing concern among some of the country's more liberal citizens.

In January the first reports emerged of Instagram models being arrested by Iranian police. Since then authorities have ramped up a major crack down on modelling and associated businesses.

This week it was revealed that Iranian police had arrested at least eight people for an "un-Islamic act" on social media.

Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the Prosecutor General of Tehran, explained the crackdown in a recent state televised report.

"In the past two years, a lot of good things have been done in the fight against hair salons and fashion workshops related to modelling," he said.

The television report included footage of model Elham Arab, a famous Iranian celebrity known for her social media portraits in wedding dresses. In the video she could be seen speaking before Dowlatabadi in a conference room, her blonde hair hidden under a black chador.

"All people love beauty and fame," Arab said. "They would like to be seen, but it is important to know what price they will pay to be seen."

It is not uncommon for the Iranian government to televise forced confessions on national TV.

The report said police identified some 170 as being involved in modelling, including 58 models, 59 photographers and makeup artists.