It began with a televised address in Iran in celebration of Persian New Year on Tuesday, when Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urged Iranians to support local products rather than importing from abroad.
Soon afterwards, photos began to emerge on social media of some officials purportedly failing to follow that advice – including Khamenei himself.
A photo of the Supreme Leader apparently getting out of a BMW was liked more than 1,200 times, with some people reposting the image alongside a picture of pre-Islamic Republic Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda driving the first Iranian-made Paykan car in the 1960s.
This tweet reads: “The MP of the corrupt Pahlavi regime driving a domestically made car, but the spiritual Leader of Muslims around the world riding on the unbelievers’ hundred-million [dollar] car, the Republic of mottos.”
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Some people defended Khamenei over the photo, with one person suggesting that the car may have belonged to the security department and not him.
But others were highly critical, with one person labelling locally-made cars as “junk products”, and another sharing images of badly damaged Iranian cars in response.
This tweet reads: “In the year of #support_for_Iranian_products give all the clerics and the ultra-religious supporters of the establishment a Kia Pride and force them to drive it.”
Other members of the Khamenei family who came in for criticism include Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the former Speaker of the Iranian Parliament whose daughter married Ali Khamenei’s son Mojtaba.
In one tweet liked more than 700 times, a person shared pictures of Haddad-Adel appearing to buy clothes from a popular British high street shop.
This tweet reads: “#support_for_Iranian_products just by Haddad-Adel, father-in-law of Mojtaba Khamenei, the Prince of Iran, who is buying clothes in the wicked Britain.”
But not everyone was so critical, with some taking the opportunity to praise their preferred Iranian products.
Farmand breakfast chocolate for Nutella spread, Shiba pastil for Haribo sweets, and Pars Khazar home appliances for De’Longhi home appliances were three of the suggestions.