Iran in the news again but not for what you may expect, but does not all surprise people. As the Associated Press reports, several Iranian news outlets reported that Iran is planning to sue Hollywood over an unrealistic portrayal of the country in the Oscar winning film “Argo.” One such news outlet, pro-reform Shargh daily, said Iran officials are in talks with Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, a french lawyer, over how and when to file a lawsuit. The movie portrays the 1979 attack o the U.S. Embassy in Tehran where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, but six staffers were sheltered by the Canadian ambassador. The main focus of the film is on their escape using a fake movie as a cover story. While the movie has receive plenty of acclaim and accolades, after the Oscar win in February, Iranian officials have come out publicly about the movie dismissing it as pro-CIA and anti-Iran propaganda. The lawyer stated to the semi-official Mehr news agency that “We will be able to block distributors of the movie, force them to apologize and challenge them to confess that the movie is nothing but a sheer lie.” Although the movie never showed in Iranian theaters, Iranian have found the movie through bootleg DVDs setting off a debate between those Iranians that took part in the 1979 Revolution who saw the movie as inaccurate and those too young to recall the events who wanted a different perspective. A late Monday viewing of the movie with critics and Iranian cultural officials, sparked the lawsuit but after the gathering called the “Hoax of Hollywood” it remains unclear what charges Iran could raise and what court Tehran could turn to for action according to the Associated Press. According to people in attendance at the gathering, the movie is seen as a “violation of international cultural norms” and in a statement proceeding the meeting comment that “awarding an anti-Iran movie is a propaganda attack against our nation and entire humanity.” Officials are accusing the movie of depicting Iranians as “too violent” and the movies director did not consult other documentaries on the embassy storming or discuss the reasons for the crisis such as tensions over the U.S. CIA-aided counter-coup in 1953 that took down democratically elected Prime Minister in order to restore pro-Western monarchy in Iran.
Of course this is not the first time Hollywood has been under fire for its depiction of history especially when it comes to Iran who believes that the portrayal of its country in movies is rather distorted. In 2009, Iran felt it was owed an apology from Hollywood actors visiting the country and movie industry officials for insulting Iranians in films like “300” and “The Wrestler.” In 2007, the movie “300” which was a hit in the United States angered Iranians because it insults their ancient culture and stirs animosity toward Iran. The 1991 film, “Not Without My Daughter”, a story about an American woman fleeing Iran with her daughter angered Iranians who accused the film of portraying Iranians as dirty, boorish and cruel, Islamic fanatics and womanizers. The Iranian state run film industry boycotted this year’s Oscars due to a Internet video clip made in the U.S. denigrating the Prophet Muhammad setting off protests in the Muslim world.