Tehran Police Bust Porn Shoot

Tod Hunter
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian police have arrested a group of mostly female performers who were "making pornographic films" in a Tehran suburb, the website Guardian.co.uk has reported. The directors of the films have also been arrested. Under the country's Islamic laws, conviction could lead to the death penalty.

The arrests were made at a house in a middle-class area in the east of Tehran, according to a pro-reformist website, Fararu. The website did not specify how many performers had been detained, but said most were "beautiful young women."

Citing an "informed source," Fararu said the actors had produced several amateur films which had then been sold on the black market.

Although an underground porn market has flourished in Iran in recent years, it is rare for the police to acknowledge it with high profile arrests. Official crackdowns on "immorality" have on occasion led to raids on rave events at which alcohol consumption and sex orgies were alleged to have occurred.

The Iranian Parliament attempted to combat the growth of local adult video production when it passed a bill in 2007 approving execution for those convicted of producing obscene films. The legislation states that "producers" and "main elements" of such works could be sentenced as "corrupters of the world," a phrase from the Quran referring to those considered deserving of the death penalty for their crimes.

The law was a reaction to widespread distribution of an illicit DVD showing an Iranian soap opera star apparently having sex with her former boyfriend. Prosecutors carried out an investigation to find its distributors after more than 100,000 copies were sold on the black market. The actress later claimed the film was a fake, made by her ex-partner as an act of vengeance.

An Iranian sociologist has warned that the country's large number of young people — roughly 70 percent of the population is under 35 — has caused an explosion in Internet pornography and the rapid growth of an underground industry. The trend has been compounded by a rise in the average marrying age — 40 for men and 35 for women — in a society in which premarital sex is outlawed and socially frowned upon.

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