(Based on a true story) Stranded in the remote Iranian village of Kuhpayeh by car trouble, a journalist (Freidoune Sahebjam) is approached by Zahra, a woman with a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of Soraya’s death, by stoning, the previous day. The two sit down as Zahra recounts the story to Freidoune, who records the conversation with his tape recorder. The journalist must escape with his life to tell the story to the rest of the world.
Ali is the abusive husband of Soraya who tries to get the village’s mullah to convince Soraya to grant him a divorce so that he can marry a 14-year-old. Ali’s marriage to the teenager is conditional on Ali’s ability to save the girl’s father, who has been sentenced to death for an unspecified crime. The mullah proposes that Soraya becomes his lover in exchange for protection and monetary support for Soraya and her two daughters. Soraya refuses. Soraya has two sons whom Ali wants, and who have both turned against her. In a scene where Ali comes home to confront Soraya, a violent argument breaks out, she breaks a dish and Ali beats her, all the while saying things displaying his sexist attitude. Some days following the incident, a woman dies. The mullah, the village’s mayor, and Ali ask Zahra to persuade Soraya to care for the widower. Zahra suggests that Soraya may do the job if she is paid.
Soraya starts working for the widower, and Ali plans to use the unusual circumstance to spread lies that Soraya is being unfaithful to him so that she will be stoned and he can remarry. Ali also knows if Soraya were dead, he would not have to pay child support. Ali and the mullah start a rumor about Soraya’s infidelity so they can charge her with adultery. One day while Zahra is walking in town, she realizes that a rumor has spread that her niece is being unfaithful to her husband.