A leading Iranian actor has reportedly been forced to apologise after tweeting his support for the US Supreme Court's equal marriage ruling last month.
Bahram Radan - who is a household name in the Middle East and has been dubbed "the Iranian Brad Pitt" - deleted the tweet after facing a huge public and media backlash, amid unconfirmed reports that he has been summoned to the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic guidance for questioning, according to the Guardian
The 'offending' tweet, which was sent to Radam's 55,000 followers in the days after the June 26 ruling, read: “The US supreme court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is legal was historic, perhaps on the scale of the end of slavery ... from Lincoln to Obama.”
The 36-year-old soon faced a barrage of abuse on the social media platform, while the ultra-conservative Keyhan newspaper - whose director is appointed directly by the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene -
called for Radan to be 'blacklisted'.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Iran, where those found guilty face imprisonment, lashes and even execution.
The paper added that Radan had been summoned for questioning - though the claim could not be verified, the Guardian noted.
In an apology letter published by the Keyhan newspaper last Thursday (July 2), the actor said, "What was published on the internet as my opinion about the US Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage was a mistake and does not reflect the dignity of the Iranian people, for which I apologise."
"We’re living in a country which celebrates marriage as a tradition of the prophet [Muhammad]. American laws have no bearing on the Islamic republic and gay marriage is reprehensible under our social and religious laws and according to our social values."
The Guardian report added that tensions around the issue of homosexuality are currently high after thousands of Iranians, both inside and outside the country, joined the millions of people worldwide who added Facebook's rainbow flag filter over their profile pictures to mark Pride.
Back in may, it was reported that "gay" hairstyles had been banned throughout the country
in an attempt to eradicate Western influences - along with tattoos, tanning beds and male eyebrow plucking.
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