Iran to sue Oscar winning ‘Argo’ over unrealistic portrayal

TEHRAN: Officials in Tehran are reportedly in talks with the lawyer of Carlos the Jackal, the infamous Venezuelan-born terrorist, as they prepare to sue Hollywood over Argo’s “unrealistic portrayal” of Iran.

Several Iranian news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh newspaper, said that the French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is discussing how and where to file the lawsuit.

After winning the Best Picture Oscar last month, Iranian officials dismissed Ben Affleck’s film as pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda. It tells the tale of how a fake film crew helped to rescue 52 Americans held hostage in the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Argo is not being shown in Iranian cinemas, but many have seen bootleg copies on DVD. The film  has reportedly split the country, with those who took part in the 1979 Islamic Revolution picking apart the portrayals of Tehran, but those too young to recall events more sympathetic to its portrayal.

The decision on the lawsuit came after a group of Iranian cultural officials and film critics screened the film on Monday. Officials have accused Argo of depicting Iranians as “too violent”. It remains unclear what specific charges Iran could raise and what court Tehran could turn to if the action goes ahead.