Iran making its own Argo to set record straight

Ben Affleck in Argo. Photo/supplied
Ben Affleck in Argo. Photo/supplied

Iran is to make its own movie about the American hostage drama during the 1979 Islamic revolution to counter what it claims are distortions in the film Argo by Ben Affleck, which swept the Golden Globe awards.

Iranian actor and filmmaker Ataollah Salmanian has been quoted in several reports saying the screenplay for a movie to correct Affleck's film is ready.

"The draft of the movie, Setad Moshtarak (The General staff), has been approved by (Iran's) art centre and it awaits budget to start shooting,'' Salmanian said.

"The movie is about 20 American hostages who were handed over to the US embassy by Iranian revolutionaries at the beginning of the (Islamic) revolution. This movie... can be an appropriate response to distorted movies such as Argo."

On November 4, 1979, Iranian Islamist students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage, holding them for 444 days in an action that caused the rupture of diplomatic ties between Washington and Tehran.

Argo chronicles the hostage drama, with Hollywood actor-director Affleck playing a CIA agent who rescues six US diplomats from the Canadian ambassador's residence in Tehran.

The movie has been accused of taking liberties with history, notably by exaggerating the role of the CIA in getting the US diplomats out, at the expense of the Canadian envoy in Tehran at the time.

It also came under fire for suggesting New Zealand's embassy in Tehran refused to shelter American fugitives.

Affleck has acknowledged the portrayal is unfair.

The director won both best dramatic film and director awards at the Golden Globes on Monday for the movie.

Argo has been banned in Iran but pirated copies are being circulated in the country.

Iranian media dismissed the movie's success and criticised the Golden Globes as a "political ceremony".

"Argo is a sign of Ben Affleck's attempt to recreate Tehran in 1980. While his attempt might be ridiculous for Iranians, it has delighted American experts and critics,'' said the daily 7Sobh.


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