TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that could lead to death penalty for persons convicted of working in the production of pornographic movies.
With a 148-5 vote in favor and four abstentions, lawmakers present at the Wednesday session of the 290-seat parliament approved 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 term, "corruptor of the world" is taken from the Quran, the Muslims' holy book, and ranks among the highest on the scale of an individual's criminal offenses. Under Iran's Islamic Penal Code, it carries a death penalty.
The "main elements" refered to in the draft include producers, directors, cameramen and actors involved in making a pornographic video.
The bill also envisages convictions ranging from one year imprisonment to a death sentence for the main distributors of the movies and also producers of Web sites in which the pornographic works would appear.
Besides videos, the bill covers all electronic visual material, such as DVD and CDs. Other material, such as porn magazines and books are already banned under Iranian law.
To become law, the bill requires an approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog in Iran.
It is widely believed that the drafting of the bill came about as a reaction to a scandal last year, when a private videotape, apparently belonging to Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi and allegedly showing her having intercourse with a man, became available across Iran.
The videotape was leaked to the Internet and released on a black market DVD, becoming a full-blown Iranian sex tape scandal. Ebrahimi later came under an official investigation, which is still ongoing. She faces fines, whip lashing or worse for her violation of Iran's morality laws.
The unnamed man on the tape, who is suspected of releasing it, reportedly fled to Armenia but was subsequently returned to Iran and charged with breach of public morality laws. He remains in jail.
In an exclusive interview with the British newspaper The Guardian early this year, Ebrahimi denied she was the woman in the film and dismissed it as a fake, made by a vengeful former fiance bent on destroying her career.
In recent years, private videotapes have increasingly been leaked to the public in Iran, riling the government and many in this conservative Islamic country, where open talk of sex is banned and considered taboo.
However, porn material is easily accessible through foreign satellite television channels in Iran. Bootleg video tapes and CDs are also available on the black market on many street corners.
Now this is Iran and not here. But I do want to post it, as I do think that it's important to remember that in many parts of the world, including here, a lot of the objection to pornography IS a deep-seated fear of corruption or contamination. And a goodly bit of the opposition is religious. As a few kerfuffles I've posted about here have cast into relief, often even "enlightened" people here who object to porn for the "right" reasons are willing to form alliances with those who oppose it for reasons of "religious morality".While this does have limited relevance to the US or even the UK, I think it helps to notice the strain of thinking that does look at porn this way. (It's also worrisome to write this off, IMO, because we run the risk of doing that typical White US-ian "oh, we're so much more EVOLVED than THOSE (brown) people!")
We often like very much to hide behind veneers of theory. And to many of us: why shouldn't we? We live in a wealthy country. Many of us are white, middle class, highly educated, comfortable. It's very easy for us to think that we can dismantle an industry through "radical" means, at which point anyone formerly "enslaved by" it has a better life, presto change-o.
Too often our "radical" dreams can't be achieved without nasty alliances. And too often we think of our "radical"ness and our "revolutionariness" and ignore what we deem collateral damage.
It didn't work in the Iraq War. Why should it work in the Vice War either?