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Iran was not happy with the news from Hollywood this morning. Argo, which won Best Picture, has been widely criticized by the government there and even banned.
The Associated Press spoke with Masoomeh Ebtekar, a member of the Tehran City council who was one of the students who stormed the U.S. embassy in 1979, which is depicted in the film. He found that Ben Affleck’s movie “shows scenes of a very violent and very angry mob throughout the film...It is never mentioned that these are a group of students.”
Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini had harsher words for Hollywood. “The movie is an anti-Iran film. It is not a valuable film from the artistic point of view. It won the prize by resorting to extended advertisement and investment,” he said in a statement to state media.
On state TV, it was called “an advertisement for the CIA,” while another called its Oscar win “politically motivated” since Michelle Obama helped announce it as the winner.
The Los Angeles Times spoke with citizens in Tehran who share similar feelings with the government. “I am secular, atheist and not pro-regime but I think the film Argo has distorted history and insulted Iranians,” a cafe owner named Hossain said. “For me, it wasn't even a good thriller.”
Argo won three awards last night and tells the story of six hostages being rescued by a CIA agent. It was also criticized by former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor, who believed that Canada’s role in the story was minimized.