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Rudd condemns Iran sentence

The Federal Government has urged Iran to protect the rights of all people after an actress was sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in jail for her role in an Australian film.

Marzieh Vafamehr was sentenced for appearing in My Tehran For Sale, a South Australian-produced movie critical of the Islamic republic's hard-line policies.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd's office said the Australian Government condemned the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and was ''deeply concerned'' by the reports.

My Tehran For Sale was shot in the Iranian capital and tells the story of a young actress whose stage work is banned by authorities.

The film-makers and investors say they are ''deeply shocked and appalled'' by Vafamehr's sentence. Cyan Films producers Julie Ryan and Kate Croser said they were not aware of the specifics of the charges but believed they related to scenes in which Vafamehr appears without wearing a hijab.

''The producers would like to emphasise that Marzieh's involvement in the film was limited to her role as an actress and she was not in any other way involved in the behind-the-scenes filmmaking,'' they said.

The film was never intended to be distributed within Iran and its dissemination on the black market in Tehran had been totally outside their control, the producers said.

The film premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2009. Lashing sentences are not uncommon in Iran, but many are not carried out.