US porn actor who advocates for Palestinians visits Iran on trip unacknowledged by Tehran


JERUSALEM (AP) — An American porn actor who has advocated for Palestinians online during Israel’s war on Hamas traveled to Iran and visited the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, which was abandoned after the 1979 hostage crisis.

The visit by Whitney Wright as Iran imprisons Nobel Peace Prize laureate and women’s rights activist Narges Mohammadi sparked heated criticism of the country’s crackdown on women since the 2022 death in police custody of Mahsa Amini and the nationwide protests it sparked.

Wright filmed herself throughout Tehran despite her work in pornography exposing her in theory to criminal charges that carry the death penalty.

Wright did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press. But in remarks on social media, she described the U.S. Embassy as a place she “HAD to visit.” Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard now runs it as a museum.

Iranian students backing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overran the compound after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Embassy staff members taken hostage were held for 444 days. A direct line can be drawn between that crisis and the tensions between Iran and the U.S. today.

“I’m sharing exhibits from a museum that are never seen,” Wright wrote on Instagram. It’s not an endorsement of the government.”

As a U.S. citizen born in Oklahoma City, Wright would need a visa for her visit. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to questions about the actor’s trip.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani was asked about Wright during a Monday briefing and said he had no information about her. Wright has shared pro-Palestinian information online, including material supporting armed militancy against Israel.

Her trip immediately drew attention.

Iranian actor Setareh Pesiani criticized Iran’s hard-line government for its mandatory headscarf policy, which led to the 22-year-old Amini’s arrest and death.

“You punish people of this country in various methods for removal of hijab but you allow a porn actress to come here for tourism!?” Pesiani wrote on Instagram.

Masih Alinejad, a U.S.-based activist who has faced assassination and kidnapping attempts by Iran, also denounced Wright’s visit.

“We the women of Iran want be like Rosa Parks and not Whitney Wright,” Alinejad wrote, referencing the U.S. civil rights icon. “The true warmongers are the agents of the Islamic Republic who will execute you if you be true to yourself.”

In 2016, a British porn actor known as Candy Charms traveled to Iran, prompting immediate criticism. But there’s been no media coverage of Wright’s visit inside Iran, likely a sign of how tightly controlled journalists are after the 2022 demonstrations.

Then there’s Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Iranian state media have seized on the U.S. support of Israel to criticize the U.S. and opponents of its theocracy. Abdolreza Davari, a media adviser to former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has as well.

“Israel is absolute evil and filth,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in October. “We will stand by anyone who fights against Israel, even if that person is Mia Khalifa, a former porn star who has cleared her record of cruelty and corruption by openly supporting the oppressed Palestinian nation and fighting Zionist crimes.”

Asked about Wright’s visit, the U.S. State Department told the AP in a statement that it has warned Americans to avoid travel to Iran and “exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detention.” Americans and those with Western ties can find themselves detained and convicted in secret trials to later be used as bargaining chips in negotiations with Washington.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a primary driver of instability across the Middle East region, and it has been since 1979,” the State Department said. “If Iran actually cared about peace and stability in the Middle East region or the welfare of the people there, it would cease its support for terrorist organizations.”



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