Iran & ‘Argo’: Authorities Reportedly Planning On Suing Hollywood

Iran & ‘Argo’: Authorities Reportedly Planning On Suing Hollywood.

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.

Richard Nixon Gun Control: Former President Wanted Total Ban On Handguns, Records Show

 Richard Nixon Gun Control: Former President Wanted Total Ban On Handguns, Records Show.

Who knew I am a little surprised. Out of all the presidents in recent time interested in gun control, Richard Nixon is not the first that comes to mind for me but according to Oval Office Recordings he proposed getting rid of Saturday night specials, contemplated a handgun ban, and refused to to pander to gun owners the Associated Press reports. The several unreported recording and White House memos from the Nixon years paint a much different picture of the conservative president who was willing at one time to take on the National Rifle Association even though he was warned against it. According to one recording, Nixon explains, “I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house…The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth…can’t we go after handguns, period?” Nixon continues: “I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it.” But “people should not have handguns.” The remarks came just a day after a would be assassin shot and paralyzed segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace on May 16, 1972 reports the Associated Press. Even though Nixon called to Congress for more modest legislation banning Saturday night specials, not all of his aides shared his passion according to the recordings and memos seeing gun control as a political loser. However, Nixon a Republican said he would sign a ban on Saturday night specials if Congress would pass it, but that never happened which is a potent sign of the NRA even 40 years ago. As the president tries to ban assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines because no one needs these to kill intruders or hunt, in Nixon’s times he tried to get rid of Saturday night specials because the guns were too poorly made to be relied on. As the Associated Press reports, one conversation Nixon had with Attorney General John Mitchell in June 1971 talks about this subject specifically with Mitchell simply replying that it would be difficult because of the gun lobby to get ride of the Saturday night special. The term Saturday night special comes from Detroit where cops observed the frequency of guns used to commit crimes on the weekend and was cemented by Lynard Skynard’s 1975 song, “Saturday Night Special.”

While many of the conversations were supportive of gun control, Nixon did not support measures that went beyond handguns. In another cosernvation just a few days after saying people shouldn’t have handguns, the president asked, “What do they want to do, just disarm the populace? Disarm the good folks and leave the arms in the hands of criminals?” However, most of his comments were in favor of stronger gun laws in his taped conversations available at the National Archives website and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. After the shooting of Wallace, on June 29,1972 at a news conference Nixon vowed to sign a law banning Saturday night specials which a year later was passed in the Senate but the House never acted on it. Of course, the power of the NRA was too strong to overcome as the bills sponsor Indiana Democrat Birch Bayh explained. Another politician a year later put gun control on the radar on Jan. 30, 1973 when two robbers shot Sen, John Stennis, D-Miss, and survived to live until 1995. A day after the shooting, Nixon told his staff “We better damn well be for it now, huh?” At a news conference the next day, Nixon repeated his call for a Saturday night special ban and in a move few policiticals would make explained, “Let me say, personally, I have never hunted in my life. I have no interest in guns and so forth.” His staff continued to warn him that gun control was a loser issue for his administration because of the powerful lobby supporting guns. The effort to ban Saturday night special has blurred into the background as gun control supporters have refocused their attention on more powerful weapons. Nixon as well shifted his focus and by June 1972 a moth after hos banning handgun comments Nixon recorded a conversation trying to get the FBI to stop invewstigati9on the break in at the Watergate office building where the Democratic offices are located that was tied to his re-election committee. Although many have forgotten about the handgun tapes, history has never forgotten the Watergate tapes that would bring down a president.