Who? Iranian soap opera actress.
Real? Probably yes. The tape exists and circulates widely. The man on the tape is Ebrahimi’s ex-fiance, and the woman looks exactly like Ebrahimi, but she claims it’s a fake.
Zahra Amir Ebrahimi was a prominent TV star in Iran, best known for the soap opera Narges. In 2006, a 27-minute Zahra Amir Ebrahimi sex tape spread through Iran via street vendors and the internet, with 100,000 copies in circulation within months.
The Guardian ran a good survey of the Zahra Amir Ebrahimi case in November 2006:
Zahra Amir Ebrahimi, one of Iran’s best known television performers, is facing social ostracism, a wrecked career and a possible lashing after police seized copies of the footage, which appears to show her having sex.
The film, which has been distributed in street markets and posted on websites, has caused profound shock at a time when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Islamist government is trying to banish the “corrupting” effects of western culture.
It has been given added impact by Ebrahimi’s reputation for playing religious, morally upstanding characters in Iranian state TV soaps. One highly successful series, Narges, was watched by an estimated 68% of the population.
[...] Ebrahimi, 25, denied being the woman in the film. She dismissed it as a fake made by a vengeful former fiance who used studio techniques to form a montage of incriminating images designed to destroy her career.
[...] Ebrahimi’s ex-fiance, an assistant film producer who has been referred to publicly only as Mr X, is in custody after being extradited from Armenia. He faces up to three years in jail and a £6,000 fine if found guilty of making and distributing the film, which contravenes Iran’s strict indecency laws.
He admits taking part but claims that Ebrahimi suggested the film, which he says was shot in her home, and then distributed it herself. However, in a 45-minute interview, Ebrahimi – wearing a hijab and a long woollen coat – said her former fiance threatened revenge after she ended their relationship a year ago because of his infidelity.
Private films showing sex scenes are not uncommon in Iran. However, Ebrahimi’s high profile and the ongoing cultural clean-up campaign have prompted a sensitive reaction from the authorities. Tehran’s chief prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, has ordered police to conduct a special investigation and wants death sentences for those convicted of circulating such productions.
Ebrahimi’s claims of fakery are highly improbable. The more likely story: she had a normal sex life with her fiance, who vindictively released their home sex tape after a rough breakup. In a civilized society, she would suffer through the embarrassment and get on with her life and career. In a society ruled by insane religious fascists, she faces shame and ruin, an end to her career, public lashing and jail time.