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Iran approves death penalty for pornographers

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Iran's parliament today approved the death penalty for "persons convicted of working in the production of pornographic movies", AP reports.

The vote was an overwhelming 148 to five in favour of the move, which declared that "producers of pornographic works and main elements in their production are considered corruptors of the world and could be sentenced to punishment as corruptors of the world".

The Koranic term "corruptor of the world" is one of the highest-ranked misdemeanours "on the scale of an individual's criminal offenses" and carries the death penalty under Iranian Islamic law. The "main elements" in question are actors, cameramen, directors, and producers of grumble flicks, although the bill also recommends "convictions ranging from one year imprisonment to a death sentence for the main distributors of the movies and also producers of websites in which the pornographic works would appear".

The bill now faces approval by Iran's "constitutional watchdog", the Guardian Council.

The legislation was reportedly provoked by the case of actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi, who appeared to have sex with a man in a widely-enjoyed amateur tape which escaped onto the internet and subsequently did brisk trade as a bootleg DVD. Ebrahimi, who vehemently denies she is the star of the film and dismisses it as a fake "made by a vengeful former fiancé bent on destroying her career", faces a possible fine, public flogging, or "worse" for breaking Iran's public morality laws.

The other half of the romping couple fled to Armenia, but was hauled back to Iran and is currently in jail on similar charges. ®

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