Nima Ebrahimi, 38, is a Baku-born Iranian model who has collaborated with multinational clothing chains such as Zara. He is also a swimming coach, and has played in several TV series and movies.
His support for the nationwide protest movement that has rocked Iran for weeks has brought him threats from security officers, incarceration and a travel ban, a colleague in Turkey told IranWire.
Now, security agencies are putting pressure on Ebrahimi to accept a televised interview in which he would deny he had ever been arrested.
Ebrahimi has taken to Instagram to express support for the wave of protests triggered by the September death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of morality police.
"Nima Ebrahimi's father is originally from Talash, a small and progressive city in Gilan province where young people love Nima very much," his colleague told IranWire.
"Protesters kept sending him pictures of their protests on WhatsApp, and Nima posted them on Instagram. Security forces called him from unidentified numbers, first in Talash and then in Tehran."
After receiving threats over the phone, Ebrahimi was arrested while he was preparing to play in a series called "Salman Farsi.”
"On October 14, Nima received a phone call, and they told him he should be on the scene of the series soon. Nima thought he had to go for the shooting, but before reaching the place he was stopped by two cars, each carrying three passengers in plainclothes."
One of the men said he was under arrest, the colleague said.
"When Nima asked why and where the order came from, they violently brought him out of his car. After blindfolding and handcuffing him, they took him with themselves."
"Nima said: ‘Each time I asked a question, someone elbowed me in the head or body and told me to shut up.’”
Ebrahimi could not see, but he thinks he was taken to the Kahrizak Detention Center, near Tehran.
After spending one day at the detainment facility, he was transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
"Nima has been interrogated in solitary confinement for four days. More than 60 of Nima’s [Instagram] stories were printed, and they told him that by doing this, he was inciting the people against the government.”
“The interrogator told Nima his Instagram page was being followed by [Tehran’s] Azadi Stadium, and that he is inciting young people from a small town like Talesh to take to the streets against the state. They insulted his mother and sister, too."
According to Ebrahimi's colleague, the interrogator told him: "We will not take bail from you, just promise us that you will not play in the enemy's field again."
The actor was released from Evin prison on October 18 with a commitment to keep quiet about the nationwide protests and a six-month ban from leaving the country.
"Now, the threatening calls have started again. They called him and invited him for an interview with state TV."