An Iranian actress has been barred from returning to her native country after she posed nude in a French newsmagazine.

Paris-based Golshifteh Farahani, who said she agreed to pose naked as a protest against the severe restrictions imposed upon Iranian women by the Islamic Republic, said she received a note from officials in Tehran saying she was no longer welcome in the country.

I was told by a Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guide official that Iran does not need any actors or artists. You may offer your artistic services somewhere else, Farahani said, according to the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph.

She left Iran several years ago, fed up with the censorship and limitations that the government places upon Iranian cinema.

The photo spread in Madame Le Figaro magazine has reportedly inspired a wave of Middle Eastern and Iranian visitors to her Facebook page – some attacking her for indecency, others praising her for her courage.

Farahani might best be known to western audiences by her performance in the Hollywood picture ‘Body of Lies’ which starred Leonardo Di Caprio.

In that film, she played a nurse who helped an American agent perform a secret mission in a Muslim country. That role also stirred outrage in Iran. The Fars news agency wrote of her at the time: With the little support she still had left, Farahani now betrayed her supporters too.

Ironically, Iranian cinema is enjoying a boom in Europe. The film A Separation by director Asghar Farhadi won the best foreign film category at Hollywood's Golden Globe Awards. Farahani had performed in several of Farhadi's previous films in Iran.