‘Hoax of Hollywood ‘: Iran vows lawsuit over ‘lies’ in Argo film

fce8argo Hoax of Hollywood : Iran vows lawsuit over lies in Argo film

“Argo is made by three film-producing companies inHollywood… the Islamic Republic of Iran is going to sue all thosewho have been active in the anti-Iran domain, including directorsand producers,” said Mohammad Lesani, General Secretary of the‘Hoax of Hollywood’ conference held Monday in Tehran.The conference saw top Iranian cultural officials and moviecritics come together to pass judgment on the movie, which isbanned from public screening in Iran. French lawyer IsabelleCoutant-Peyre also attended to advise on the possible lawsuit.Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is known for her political cases. Shedefended and then married the infamous Venezuelan ‘revolutionary’Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, who isserving a life sentence in France for the 1975 murder of two Frenchcounter-intelligence agents and an informant. She also representedZacarias Moussaoui early in his imprisonment, while he was awaitingtrial to determine his role in the terrorist attacks of September11, 2001.”We will be able to block distributors of the movie, forcethem to apologize and challenge them to confess that the movie isnothing but a sheer lie,” Coutant-Peyre told Iranian newsagency Mehr. “I will stand by the Iranian people to inform theworld about the dissemination of propaganda against Iran.”Despite the screening ban, pirated DVDs of the film arereportedly available on the black market across the country, andhave become something of a hit.Accurate history or CIA propaganda?The Iranian revolution grew out of demonstrations against ShahMohammad Reza Pahlavi, which started in 1977 and intensified in1978. The Shah fled Iran to live in exile on January 16, 1979. Twoweeks later, the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini, who fled Iran 15 yearsearlier over his opposing the Shah, returned to the country tobecome its Supreme Leader.Iranians demanded the Shah return to stand trial for crimesagainst his people, and became increasingly angry at the US forallowing the Shah into America for medical treatment and refusingto extradite him. The anger spilled over when the American Embassyin Tehran was ransacked in November 1979, and its staff takenhostage – the events portrayed in ‘Argo.’ The hostages were freedin 1981 after extensive negotiations, a few months after the Shahdied in Egypt. The US has not had official diplomatic relationswith Iran ever since.The movie ‘Argo’ portrays the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979,known in Iran as the ‘Conquest of the American Spy Den.’ Fifty-twoAmericans were held hostage for 444 days after revolutionary crowdsstormed the US Embassy. Six Americans managed to escape and hid inthe home of the Canadian ambassador in Tehran. They were smuggledout of the country as Canadian filmmakers in a highly risky jointCIA-Canadian operation code-named ‘Argo.’Director Ben Affleck, who also played the role of CIA agent TonyMendez in the movie, claimed the film faithfully depicted whathappened, and that he “could barely believe” it had taken place.Iran, however, has accused him of distorting history, blasting themovie as CIA propaganda in which Iranians are depicted as violentthugs.Iran has also claimed that many facts are omitted from themovie, including the reasons behind the Iran hostage crisis – suchas US involvement in a 1953 coup that overthrew the democraticallyelected leader of Iran and installed the Shah.However, the movie is hardly flattering to US policies. Themovie’s US characters openly criticize America’s role in thehostage crisis – for supporting and then harboring the Shah, andturning a blind eye to the dictator’s crimes.Jimmy Carter, the US president at the time of the embassy siege,believes the movie is mostly accurate in how it portrayed events:”90 percent to the contributions of the ideas and theconsummation of the plan was Canadian,” Carter told CNN.“The movie gives almost all credit to the American CIA. Withthat exception the movie is very good.” The real hero, Carterbelieves, was Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated’Argo’ escape.Despite a clear understanding in the West that ‘Argo’ is afictional commercial project, Iranians believe the film has apolitical agenda. US First Lady Michelle Obama appeared to announce’Argo’ as the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture, fueling suchsuspicions.”For many in the Iranian regime, it’s impossible to fathomthat Hollywood is not a state-run entity, as it is in Iran,”Omid Memarian, a New York-based journalist who has covered Iranianmovies, told the Guardian. “Iranian officials seriously perceiveany cultural products about Iran, like movies, as a politicalstatement and a part of what they call the West’s cultural invasionagainst Iran.”Iranian authorities have vowed to create their own film topresent a more true-to-life story of the US Embassy siege, and the’Argo’ escape.

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‘Hoax of Hollywood ‘: Iran vows lawsuit over ‘lies’ in Argo film

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