The actress, Internet, and a sex film - in Iran

Sex films, soap stars and international fugitives were an unheard of combination on the front pages of newspapers in conservative Muslim Iran until now.

For Western readers who regularly feast on celebrity antics in popular scandal sheets, a grainy film of sexual activity is probably no big deal.

But Iranians have been transfixed by a judicial inquiry into media reports that a budding starlet is the woman in a graphic film widely distributed across the Internet.

The starlet, Zahra Amir Ebramhimi denies she is the woman in the film. The man who appears in the movie is said to have fled the country to Dubai. The punishment if either are found guilty could be severe.

"If the man is caught we will jail him for at least six months, up to a year," said an Iranian judiciary official who declined to be named. "He will face charges of distributing immoral material."

But worse could come for the young woman.

Pictures of an actress, dressed in the close fitting Islamic headscarf mandatory in Iranian state television productions, have been splashed across the front pages connecting her with the sex scenes. The soap star, in her 20s, denies she appears in the film and media reports she has tried to kill herself since.

"It depends on finding out whether she had a deliberate role in the case," the judiciary official told Reuters. "If so, it is going to be dealt with as a case of corruption and prostitution."

Those convicted of such crimes can face a range of punishments ranging from lashes to imprisonment or even death if the woman is married and is thus committing adultery.

An Iranian woman was stoned to death in 2001 for appearing in a home-made pornographic movie, though authorities have since officially banned stoning. Investigators examining that film tracked the woman down by reading the number on the electricity meter in the background of the film.

At the very least, this latest film is likely to ruin the actress's career. One Iranian actor was barred from television after he was filmed dancing with a woman at a wedding party.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: