Who Is Sahar Tabar? Iranian Instagram Influencer Who Resembles Angelina Jolie Arrested for Blasphemy and Encouraging Corruption

An Iranian woman famous on Instagram for drastically changing her appearance to resemble a "zombie" version of actress Angelina Jolie has reportedly been arrested on charges including blasphemy.

Sahar Tabar faces charges including blasphemy, inciting violence, gaining income through inappropriate means and encouraging youths to corruption, AFP reported, citing the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

She was detained on the orders of Tehran's guidance court, which handles "cultural crimes and social and moral corruption," late on Saturday, according to Tasnim.

She was arrested after members of the public made complaints about her, the news agency reported. Her Instagram account—which at one point boasted more than 400,000 followers—has since been deleted.

Tabar found fame after pictures she posted of herself on Instagram—showing her with a gaunt face, sharp cheekbones, extremely plumped up lips, sunken cheeks and an upturned nose—went viral last year.

Some of the images showed her wearing a headscarf while others showed her hair, sometimes colored, in defiance of Iran's mandatory hijab laws.

She made international headlines and caused concern with the number of cosmetic surgeries she had undergone to look like Jolie.

But although she was rumored to have had 50 surgeries, most of the images were later revealed to have been heavily edited, the BBC said.

The 22-year-old said that much of her ghoulish appearance was due to make-up and editing. She also claimed that she never intended to look like Maleficent actress Jolie.

"This is Photoshop and makeup," she reportedly told Russian media outlet Sputnik in 2017. "Every time I publish a photo, I paint my face in an increasingly funny way."

She added: "It is a way of expressing yourself, a kind of art. My fans know that this is not my real face."

Tabar is just the latest Iranian social media influencer to draw the ire of the Islamic Republic's authorities.

In July last year, 8 women and 36 other people in the photography, wedding and beauty business were arrested in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas for using Instagram to share pictures and clips which officials deemed indecent, the Associated Press reported.

Facebook, Twitter and the Telegram messenger service are banned in Iran. Although Instagram remains available, hard-liners have decried the online platform and others like it for allowing "un-Islamic acts" such as models posting images of themselves with their hair on show or only loosely covered.

The country conducts regular crackdowns to combat western cultural influence.

Sahar Tabar
Iranian social media star Sahar Tabar reportedly had more than 50 surgeries to look like “Maleficent” actress Angelina Jolie, but it could cost her life. Instagram/Sahar Tabar