The porn star who went to Iran for a nose job
- 3 August 2016
Iranians are struggling to understand how a well-known British porn star was allowed into their country for cosmetic surgery on her nose.
Candy Charms' visit became public knowledge only after she had returned home from Iran, and posted the above picture on her Instagram account. The photo shows her wearing a black headscarf which complies with the country's conservative rules on women's clothing.
"I only told my very close friends and family, as social networks and Twitter are banned so was hard to communicate," she wrote. Her message went on to describe the people of the Iranian capital Tehran as "so kind" and "generous".
"Really overwhelmed by the whole trip the people are amazing, even when people don't have much they will do anything for you really puts your own life in perspective," she added.
Her post received thousands of comments and likes before it was removed from Instagram. Candy has reportedly closed the account because of fears of attempted hacking but hopes to have it reinstated.
What is most surprising for many on social media is how she managed to obtain a visa for Iran.
An Iranian minister says she applied through a travel agency using a different name and claiming to be a beautician. The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi suggested that it was precisely because of the high moral standards of the Islamic republic that officials had not known who the porn star was.
"When an American-British star applied for a visa through a travel company [and entered the country], some asked why they [the agents] have not recognized her. But how on earth would our colleagues recognize these types of ladies?" he said.
The story proved particularly popular on Farsi chat apps such as Telegram and disbelief was widespread.
A social media user known as Professor Balthazar posted: "We have so many girls with 'porn star look' in Tehran. We missed that a real porn star literally came to Iran."
Another wrote: "She is a porn star, American and also a woman, who came to Tehran for a nose job. And you're saying we don't have freedom in Iran?!"
But other posts expressed disgust that such a person could be allowed into Iran.
As many as 40,000 cosmetic procedures are carried out in the country each year, according to the Iranian Association of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons, making it one of the world's top 10 most popular places for plastic surgery.
The porn star herself has praised the quality of cosmetic work being done in Iran. "It's very common for models to visit Iran for surgery, especially facial, as they do it the best," she said in an interview with Cairo Scene.
But some on social media have expressed concern about the fate of the doctor who carried out the procedure on her.
However, others chose to see the lighter side of the furore. An account called Dom Iman tweeted: "Porn stars travelling to Iran is one of the benefits of nuclear deal between Iran and the West."
And as for Candy, she has made it clear that she would be keen to return if Iran would have her.
"I loved the people and it's a shame that it has had such a negative effect as I would have liked to return!" she said.
Blog by Harry LowReporting by BBC Monitoring
Next story: 'I am housemaid, hear me roar'