TEHRAN - Hollywood actor Sean Penn has swapped greasepaint for notebook as he visits Iran to cover the presidential elections next week for a California newspaper.
Penn, star of rugged hits like "Mystic River" and "29 Grams", was an unexpected visitor at Tehran's Friday prayers where he was seen clutching a reporters' notebook as he surveyed the proceedings.
He refused to make any comments to his fellow members of the press, restricting himself to confirming that he was in the Islamic republic to cover the elections for the San Francisco Chronicle.
At his hotel he has been registered as "Sean Justin Penn", journalist, according to an employee.
Penn is already known for his high-profile activities as an opponent of President George W. Bush.
He caused outrage in Washington by visiting Baghdad in December 2002, just before the US-led invasion of Iraq. He then took out a full page advertisement in the New York Times to explain his stance.