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Travel ban for Iranian actress was only a 'rumour,' says colleague

"This trip took place last Thursday and she has gone to the United States on a personal visit," casting director Mohammad Reza Sharifinia, who has worked with Farahani, told Fars, according to Agence France-Presse.

A week ago, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported that the 25-year-old actress was stopped by authorities at a Tehran airport while en route to the U.S. to discuss a new film role, citing an unnamed government official.

"These are all rumours and her trip proves these rumours wrong," Sharifinia said.

The IRNA report made headlines around the world and the purported ban sparked criticism in some Iranian newspaper editorials as well.

Farahani, who began her acting career as a child, is a well-known performer in Iran after having appeared both on the stage and in a number of films, including the award-winning movie Half Moon by Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi and M for Mother, which was Iran's official Oscar submission for the best foreign language film category in 2007.

Some of her roles, however, have come under fire.

The film Santouri, in which Farahani portrays the wife of a drug-addicted musician, was banned from theatrical screening and criticized as a negative portrayal of Iran. However, the film was widely distributed by bootleggers on the black market and became a hit.

Her most recent effort, Ridley Scott's upcoming Hollywood production Body of Lies, has also been blasted by some in Iran.

The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, tells the story of a CIA agent who travels to Jordan to capture a terrorist leader. Farahani's participation was billed as the first appearance by an Iranian-based actress in a Hollywood film since the start of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Some hardliners in Iran have criticized Farahani for taking the role and called on officials to sanction her.


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