Iran announces plans to sue over the misrepresentation in “Argo”

Did you see Argo? The Best Picture winner is well worth watching, although it’s clearly not historically accurate. (As is the case with several Best Picture nominees this year.) I’ve mentioned this before, but I started frantically taking notes during the movie because there were a lot of scenes that belied belief. It turns out that most of the plot points that seemed too dramatic to be true were made up and/or embellished for the movie. In actuality, the Canadian government did a ton of work behind the scenes to get the American diplomats out of Iran, it wasn’t all American heroism and a skin-of-the-teeth escape with some Canadian hospitality.

Spoilers below
The basis for the plot, an invented science fiction movie to provide cover for the Americans, was true. The most nerve-wracking moments were not. Things went much more smoothly during the escape than portrayed, with the diplomats getting on the plane with pre-booked tickets without incident. There were no hostile Iranian security guards, and there was no last-minute chase of the plane down the runway as it took off. (Slate has an excellent breakdown of the plot vs. reality if you’re interested.) The film needed some bad guys, though, and the Iranians of course fit the bill. Tehran has announced plans to sue Argo for incorrectly portraying what happened during this incident in 1980. It’s unclear if they’ll actually go through with it, or if they’re just making noise.

First, Iran said it would produce its own cinematic response to “Argo.” Now, Tehran plans to sue Hollywood filmmakers who contribute to the production of such “anti-Iran” propaganda films.

State-run Press TV reports that Iranian officials have talked to an “internationally-renowned” French lawyer about filing such a suit.

“I will defend Iran against the films like Argo, which are produced in Hollywood to distort the country’s image,” said Isabelle Coutant-Peyre.

Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, who also played the lead role, is about the rescue of U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis. The film, released in 2012, garnered Affleck a Golden Globe as director and also took the prize for best drama movie.

The film claims to be based on a true story rather than to constitute a scrupulous retelling of what took place, and its deviations from reality have been documented.

Iran plans to fund a movie titled “The General Staff,” about 20 American hostages who were handed over to the United States by Iranian revolutionaries, according to a report by Mehr News, an official Iranian agency.

Press TV has detailed its objections to “Argo.”

“The Iranophobic American movie attempts to describe Iranians as overemotional, irrational, insane, and diabolical while at the same, the CIA agents are represented as heroically patriotic,” it complained.

[From CNN]

This is bizarre. If Iran does sue Argo, where would the court case take place? Would it be in France as they mention and how would that happen? I doubt they’re even going to go forward with this.

You can’t argue that the Iran Hostage Crisis didn’t happen. 52 American Embassy employees were held hostage for well over a year. It’s not like the Iranians weren’t culpable at all. I get that this movie wasn’t technically accurate, and it seems reasonable for some kind of counter-movie to portray the Iranians as behaving more diplomatically in some instances. Really though, if these people were captured they would have been thrown in with the rest of the hostages. They wouldn’t have been let go.

Photo credit: Warner Brothers

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148 Responses to “Iran announces plans to sue over the misrepresentation in “Argo””

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  1. TheOriginalKitten says:

    I saw this on the news and got really pissed off. It’s called ARTISTIC LICENSE and Affleck is not the first director to embellish for the sake of making an interesting movie.

    The movie isn’t a documentary (not that docs aren’t biased as well), it is a film that is TELLING A STORY and while it should maintain a level of factual content, the director is under NO obligation to be unbiased. It is HIS vision, period.


    Doesn’t even matter because these jerks have no case. It’ll be thrown out.

    • Spooks says:

      Americans tend to embellish history in their favour quite a lot, don’t they?

      • hayley says:

        oh whatever. as if other countries don’t paint America as negatively as they can when they have the chance to.

      • Guesto says:

        @Spooks – They do but, end of the day, who looks to Hollywood for historical accuracy or truth?

        It’s just a film and has no resonance beyond providing a couple of hours of entertainment. In any case, I would have thought Canadians had more of a reason to gripe about the liberties taken than the Iranians.

      • Orange_Blohan says:

        It’s a movie, not a history book. And perhaps we should sue Iran for holding our people hostage all that time and for the damage to our embassy. Something real that actually happened, and doesn’t have to be embellished!!!

      • Mia 4S says:

        That’s true Haley, but it gets a little silly when American film makers don’t bother telling true stories of great American deeds and heroics (of which there are too many to count) but start taking historical events where other nations took the lead and trying to makes them stories of American saving the day too (anyone seen U-571?). Instead of marveling at tales of true American bravery the rest of us end up rolling our eyes at the “historical drama”. It reflects badly on America because it comes across as uneducated and deeply insecure. Most countries with film resources would or do, do this. It is what it is, but it’s still silly.

        Canadian reaction was pretty muted. Basically a “fun, great movie…but you do know it was mostly BS right? Good.” Maybe an eye roll or two. ;-)

      • Nicolette says:

        But yet America is everybody’s daddy when they need our help or money. Then we’re just great right?

      • Faye says:

        @Nicollette — no, they take our money and help and we’re *still* the bad guy. The same heads of state shake our hands, stretch out their hands, and then turn around and make speeches about how awful America is. I did a stint for the State Dept years ago, and I know whereof I speak. I have sat in meetings where members of the other governments who were supposed to be our allies didn’t realize I spoke Arabic and French, and you would be amazed at the things they will say right in front of you.

        As for Argo, yes, it had many inaccuracies. But it’s undeniable that the central plot — Iranians storming the embassy, killing innocent people and trapping the others — is true. I think they didn’t need all the Hollywood last-minute edge-of-your-seat moments, and they should have given more credit to the Canadians, but otherwise it was very real and very good.

      • littlestar says:

        Mia 4S has it right – I’m Canadian and all Canadians I’ve talked to who have seen the movie enjoyed it even though they know it’s greatly embellished. I really enjoyed the movie and I’m a wanna-be political scientist! :D

        Maybe Iran is using this as an excuse to cover up their embarrassment over Ahmadinejad “inappropriately” touching Chavez’s mother at Chavez’s funeral lol.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I’m really in no mood to read the “Let’s sh-t on America!!!” comments.

        Maybe go to an anti-American blog to start with that sh*t, not an American celeb blog.

        EDIT: this isn’t directed to anyone specifically…just glossed over the above comments and noticed the usual exhausting stereotypes.

      • Grant says:

        The country that comes out looking the best in Argo is Canada, not the USA.

        But yeah, I’m not losing sleep over the misrepresentations of Iran in this movie when the whole situation could have been avoided altogether if Iranians hadn’t held innocent Americans captive–for well over a year, no less.

      • Lucinda says:

        I saw the movie in the theater and thought Canada came out looking very good. The Canadians were acknowledged as working closely with the American government and it’s clear these Americans would not have made it out at all if not for the Canadians.

        And yes, if you are looking for accuracy, look somewhere else. If you want a great story, this movie provided imo.

      • Ranunculus says:

        @ Nicolette

        .. you mean when America again starts an unjustified war with a country resulting in 160000 deaths and a cost of $3 trillion …. come on lets get real here.

      • Leen says:

        Nicolette – you cannot blame the US for it as the world functions on a very economics/market foundation, not on an ideological spectrum. For instance, Saudi Arabia and US, they mutually benefit from their relationship where US has access to oil and military bases in Saudi Arabia, while Saudi Arabia royalty can benefit from a protection of a superpower. US doesn’t care if beheadings happen every week or so. Same thing with Egypt, it didn’t care that Mubarak was policing the entire population, as long as he got his aid and the US can guarantee market access/peace treaty with Israel, it isn’t going to let go. THis in return turns makes the public very unfavorable to the US as they are sort of ‘protecting’ authoritarian governments. Believe me Egyptians are still mad even after 40 years at the US for supporting a dictatorship, and it will not be forgiven easily since the US likes to trump the ‘democracy/liberal values/etc’ card.

        Basically what I’m saying it isn’t as simple as ‘everyone goes running to the US for money’. Actually increasingly people have been running to China for money from the Middle East/North Africa/Asia, as they are far more beneficial to them because China is purely interested in economical reasons and not necessarily ideological reasons. But again, the US has a vested interest in maintaining their presence and influence in the Middle East. But I suspect they will reduce their presence there in the coming 20 years.

        Finally, critiquing American Foreign policy is NOT sh*ting on America. Quite honestly, I’m a grad student in the US, I love my university, I love the US and Americans are seriously the nicest people I’ve ever met, and some of my family are US citizens as well. But let’s not kid ourselves that there isn’t something wrong with US foreign policy in the last 20-30 years as my american friend says ‘everyone hates america because our foreign policy sucks balls’. And yeah maybe that is hard to say but it will do you good to understand WHY america is viewed unfavorably. I come from the Middle East and people make a point in distinguishing between America as the people and the country and the government, and most dislike the government’s foreign policy NOT the people or the country itself.

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @TheOriginalKitten, who wrote: “I saw this on the news and got really pissed off. It’s called ARTISTIC LICENSE and Affleck is not the first director to embellish for the sake of making an interesting movie.”

      I think the problem is that the incident is still too close in time and many people remember it and how it actually went down. I was 25-years-old at the time and I remember the Iranian Crisis–and how those American Diplomats made it out of Iran–very well indeed. That’s why I didn’t see “Argo.”

      • kP says:

        That’s a stupid reason not to see the movie.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Wait….you haven’t even seen the movie? Um….

      • Alexandra Bananarama says:

        Emma It was too recent to make. You’re right. If Ben wanted to take so many liberties with the story he should have waited, but he wanted that Oscar. The more dramatic it was the better the odds. Also, Clooney was a part of it. He’s so far left he’s falling off the table. Carter was made to look like he had balls. The truth about Carter is he was a good, kind, honest man. He wasn’t the man that makes the hard decisions. He wasn’t one to react quickly when things needed to be done. He wasn’t a good leader. Great man, poor president. That was part of the agenda in the film.

        I saw this movie with my mother who worked at the CIA during Carter’s presidency. She took a far amount of issue with how theatrical they’re rewriting history. If you base a movie on some historical facts the audience will believe all of it. We can be stupid like that and get caught up in the emotions of the movie.

        KP Why do you judge so quickly when they’re possibly more to Emma’s reasoning than what was posted.

        OK At this point you don’t have to have seen argo to know all its details. Most films in previews give away too much plot to make anything a surprise. Especially since this movie is from a story that everyone knew the details..

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @KP, who wrote: “That’s a stupid reason not to see the movie.”

        (Blinks) What’s ‘stupid’ about choosing not to watch a movie about an event you lived through? I didn’t watch “JFK” either … I mean, once you’ve seen a man’s brains splatter out of his head and then three days later watch someone else shot to death on live today (when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald while he was led to a car to be transported into Federal custody) where’s the mystery? Not to mention that I would never ever want to witness something like that again.

        You younger people have the horror of 911, but I’ve lived through President Kennedy’s assassination, Martin Luther King’s assassination, Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the Mei Li atrocity (where American Soldiers were photographed in vivid color murdering everyone in a Vietnam village, I mean there’s nothing like seeing a small child’s fluids explode out of their stomach upon up close and personal impact from a rifle bullet … by the way, that means that John Kerry wasn’t a ‘bad man’ who made up false stories about American soldiers) and all of the wounded soldiers and broken bodies lying in ditches shown on the evening news and in magazine of our soldiers in Vietnam. Did I forget anything? How about those lovely color photos of Sharon Tate’s blood spattered house (and the LaBianca’s condo) after the (Charles) Manson Family murders.

        So excuse me if I choose not to watch film that would only remind me of the tense year we spent wondering if ‘that’ particular day would be the day the Ayatollah decided to behead or hang our hostages on live TV.

        Oh and I didn’t see “Titanic” either. Guess what? 1,300 people drowned. Are you going to call me stupid for that, too?

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Ok, I can respect that explanation for sure.

        My parents are of the same mindset (they’re likely much much older than you)-they don’t want to watch anything that is based on a traumatic historical event or anything that is “hyper-realistic”. They want escapism and fantasy.

        Nothing wrong with that.

    • Karolina says:

      Yeah but unfortunatly many of your people get their whole “historic” knowledge via biased Hollywood movies, that always take the same direction-lies and propaganda.

      Especially this: “The Iranophobic American movie attempts to describe Iranians as overemotional, irrational, insane, and diabolical while at the same, the CIA agents are represented as heroically patriotic,” was SO on point, because you are doing it in EVERY movie

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Then that’s on the viewer. Seriously. If you get your historical info from Hollywood then you deserve to be spoon-fed lies and misrepresentations. Do your research. Open up a f*cking book. Watch Nova.

        This is one of those arguments where I might seem like a bitch but really, no counterargument is going to change my mind on this one. I went to art school and I will ALWAYS support the idea that art is one or more artist’s VISION, PERIOD-it doesn’t have to be what you want it to be, the artist has no obligation to cater to people. Not only that but art should be free to be what it wants. I don’t care if I sound like a hippie. Bite me.

        Censorship has no place in the art world.

      • Amelia says:

        “I don’t care if I sound like a hippie. Bite me.”
        I really want a t-shirt with this printed on it!
        To echo what’s been said above, if you learn your history through films that have been made for entertainment purposes, then it’s on you if you show yourself up.

      • Lulu says:

        I agree with TOK. Watching movies makes me curious as to the actual events and that sends me to the internet where I can find out the facts behind something. Of course you can’t rely on just one site for your information, because there is a lot of false information out there. Lucky for me, I was taught critical thinking during my AMERICAN high school and college classes along with polical science and history. So here’s my t-shirt: ‘You don’t like Americans? Bite me!’


      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        *high fives Amelia and Lulu*

      • Pop! says:

        Way to depersonalize a whole nation of people. There’s is no ‘you people’ making this movie. I didn’t make this movie. OgKitten didn’t make this movie. I assume I’d be mostly correct in saying no one commenting had anything to do with this or any other movies plot or creation. And i thought the ‘you people’ pissed me off at work. I second what kitten said, if the people watching a film can’t look up the actual history, that’s their prrsonal problem, not the response of every American viewer. You sound like a closed-minded, xenophobic snob fueled by hatred and stereotypes.

      • Poink517 says:

        ‘Your people’. Way to generalize. That’s insulting.

      • Karolina says:

        Whatever, I usually refrain from watching hollywood based movies, because of that very specific reason. The last time I was in the US, the custom officer gave my colleague shit because she has been to Jemen and Pakistan before. His exact words were “What would you do there, it’s a shithole” I know blabla only one ignorant American which just happens to somehow represent the country, however unfortunatly the most ignorant people I’ve met during my travels have been from the US. I have countless stories on this, so for me it is not a coincidence. Strangely, the canadians I met so far, have been COMPLETELY the opposite. And being numerous times due to work duties in the US I am fairly confident to say that too many people in the US take this propaganda shit as a fact and never do their research.

      • Pop! says:

        Generally, if incidents keep happening to me or people keep reacting to me a certain way, I’ll think maybe the connecting piece is me and the way I’m presenting myself to those people.

      • Pop! says:

        I’m not even saying that to be rude, that’s sometimes just how it is. If i an the only connecting factor in the way separate people respond similarly i assume I didn’t come across well.

      • Ranunculus says:

        If Affleck wants to make a movie about a fictional event he of course has artistic license. If he wants to make a movie about a historical event he has to stick to the facts. If he cant use or utilize the factual events to make an interesting movie he is a mediocre director and the movie is of low quality. If he embellishes facts or even manipulate events and the way they happened he should not take on a historical based movie but go back to doing Gigli type movies.

      • Leen says:

        Alright I usually hate generalization and stereotypes and I can see where you are coming from. Note, I watched this movie with my IR class, and with the exception of me and another person who is British, all of them were Americans. And lord did we have a field day pointing out the propaganda and BS the story has to offer. So I think it is unfair to generalize americans.
        HOWEVER, I am well aware that most of the people, american or not, will not research the hostage crisis, or Iran’s history or current Iranian politics. Even if someone went on Wikipedia and did read the quick summary of the US embassy hostage in Iran, it is not enough to actually understand the situation. I certainly do not understand well enough even after I’ve studied its politics for a good couple of months.

        Which is why, even though I enjoyed the movie, it will subconsciously influence people’s mindset about Iran ESPECIALLY in this current climate. Let’s not forget the US has its eye on Iran and its been the hot topic in IR for the last year with sanctions, possible attack, whatnot. Maybe the average american (and saudi/israeli since they have a vested interest in Iran, too) will see this movie and say eh, that was fun. But in the next couple of weeks when people say IRAN IRAN, you dont think subconsciously that movie hasn’t influenced that person’s thinking about Iran? You don’t think that person MIGHT actually base their support/unsupport for a war on Iran BASED on the constant media propagation? Especially since we are talking about a younger and newer generation that has not experienced/don’t remember/were not alive during the US embassy hostage.

      • Karolina says:

        So for 1, this incident didn’t happen to me, but to my colleague, and we all know way better than to give an attitude to the custom officers. And no, it definitely has NOTHING to do with me or my attitude. The last time I was in India I had a nice encounter with Americans, that approached ME, with the words “so good to see another WHITE person here, those indians are so strange, right, always staring” Yeah, maybe I should add that he was harrassing certain rikshaw drivers, because he wanted to buy weed and he and his fellow american friends were hitting the beach in shorts and bikinis (which you just don’t do, it is disrespectful). No no, these things have nothing to do with me.

      • Karolina says:

        And haha, I forgot to say, in this certain american tourist group, who were apparently disturbed by the presence of non-white people in India, one of the guys was black. Hahaha.

    • iheartjacksparrow says:

      That’s why movies involving incidents which really happened carry the disclaimer “Based on actual events.” People want excitement in their movies; car chases and explosions are required.

      • Belle says:

        That isn’t the only disclaimer… I actually watched this movie for the 2nd time the other night, and not only does it have the disclaimer you mentioned, but at the end it also states that there are changes and embellishments in the movie (or something to that effect). No big surprise as this is done with most movies that are ‘based’ on real events.

        Oh, and I agree with everything Kitten has said above!

    • kP says:

      People who get upset over artistic license are hypocritical ninnies. They never apply their dumb standard to any other work of art they like.

    • marie says:

      is this being used as a diversion tactic of some sort? the lawsuit seems ridiculous.

    • jane16 says:

      Its an American movie, they’d have to sue him here. First Amendment.

    • jane16 says:

      Unbelievably hypocritical of them. Thousands of Iranian families fled Iran during their revolution. Greece kindly took them in, then many ended up here. We know several families who have told horrific stories of what went down during that time and how they escaped with their lives. I don’t see the Iranian govt owning up to their mass murders. Look at what happened a couple of years ago when they murdered young people protesting.

    • Sharon says:

      You know, Artistic license is literally a freedom ONLY in America. It’s damn sad. I actually realised that when i was watching Transformers. The scene where Megatron destroys Lincolns seat – Though spectacular – IF that was done in India – with say a Gandhi statue – Bay would have been sued for everything he’s got. Bleh. If u don’t like a movie – don’t watch it !

  2. Winnie says:

    That chase scene was pretty ridiculous; almost cartoon-like. I can’t imagine anyone thinking it really happened that way.

    • NYC_girl says:

      That chase scene was suspenseful but I also read it didn’t happen (I haven’t read all of the comments so someone might have mentioned this already). I also wondered why the guys pursuing the about-to-takeoff plane didn’t shoot at it and try to damage it. But I’m a Negative Nelly anyway. ;)

  3. someone says:

    As an Iranian: for f*ks sake, iran has much bigger issues right now than this movie. i didn’t necessarily LOVE the movie but that was mostly because i found it a little boring…seriously, we cannot deny that a lot of these things HAPPENED. iranian gov’t is seriously a piece of shit, and needs to focus on the insane divide occuring between rich and poor right now. the number of middle class iranians is decreasing more and more to the point that only the really wealthy can afford anything at this point. it’s so sad to see such a beautiful country with so many intelligent, educated and open-minded people become this terrible and backwards islamic state. i’m not saying there shouldn’t be religion, but it shouldn’t be in the gov’t because it’s been used as a scapegoat to deny people of so much of their freedoms. how about instead of the gov’t focusing on this movie, they focus on bettering their country so the young intellectuals with so much promise don’t end up immigrating to other countries to become amazing doctors, lawyers and scientists!? iran needs those people right now, and the gov’t is creating the most hostile unbearable environment that these people’s talents are wasted. as much as i used to believe that iran was different from other middle eastern countries and much more modern, everyday that passes by this concept holds less of a possibility. anyways end of my rant.

    • Egg dart says:

      That was a beautiful rant.

    • Guesto says:

      +1. A very valid and heartfelt rant.

    • Buffoon says:

      Thank you for your rant. It was only recently that I learned how different Iran used to be as a nation before the Islamic regime. Is there hope for things taking a turn for the better?

    • shanaynay says:

      As a fellow Iranian too I did not really like this movie. It was so exaggerated, and the thing that pissed me off the most were the AWFUL PERSIAN ACCENTS. They were obviously not real Iranian actors. There were one or two, but honestly, I was grating my teeth the whole time. Watching a movie that focuses on the negative about my country (which the American media loves to do) really got under my skin. Affleck is a good director, but thanks for painting another horrible picture of a nation that is so complicated and diverse that films and stories like this only keep us down instead of bringing us up.

      • someone says:

        the maid!! either she was not iranian or she didn’t speak fluent farsi, her accent was pretty awful. which is fine for a person, but she’s supposed to be a born and raised citizen. i think what bothered me was that all the iranians were angry mobsters. but i didn’t expect anything else considering that it is a movie and i didn’t expect them to spare the iranians. but i thought the people that looked worse were the obnoxious hostages. i mean EVERYONE ELSE GOT MURDERED and they were whining about being protected in a nice home, where they were served meals and given a great place to sleep. seriously, you came to Iran knowing full well of the circumstances, what did you expect?

      • Belle says:

        I don’t think ‘films and stories’ are the problem ‘keeping Iran down’. Sorry, jmho.

    • Nicolette says:

      The Iranian government unfortunately is being led by an out of control lunatic president that is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His blood thirsty hatred for America and Israel is palpable, and he is not shy about stating that we both should be wiped off the map. He has even stated his belief in the coming of the Twelfth Imam and that there must be as much blood shed as possible to make that happen. Talk about religion being involved in politics, but I’m sure you’re aware of this.

      And we here in America are also feeling the squeeze on the middle class. The wealthy are being demonized and the lower class is rich with entitlements. Our own class warfare is setting up and it’s not pretty.

      Seems Ahmadinejad is in a bit of hot water after the photo of him consoling Chavez’s mother was released. I understand strict Islamic codes forbid any contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex correct? The Islamic clerics are really up in arms over this. Interesting to see how that pans out.

      • Leen says:

        You are giving Ahmedinejad waaaay too much credit and power. He’s not a dictator because he is accountable to the Khameini, and he would not be in politics if it weren’t for Khameini’s blessing. If you really want to see how Iranian leadership operate, look no further than Khameini. Ahmedinejad cannot do much without Khameini and there has been a lot of problems between them in 2008 where AHmedinejad went against the Khameini and he was in danger of losing his position. So basically Ahmedinejad is not the one you should care about, it’s Khameini.

    • Karolina says:

      You are right, however, in my opinion especially the first part of your rant would also perfectly describe the situation in the US: drift between rich & poor, and the extreme religious influence here is not the islam, but extreme variations of christians (mitt romney running for president-seriously?)

      • Faye says:

        @Karolina — Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but do you seriously equate Mitt Romney (whom I did not support, BTW) and what he does in his own private life with the Islamic republic of Iran, which has religious police who can and do jail/kill people for the slightest perceived infraction of their religious code? Come on.

      • someone says:

        Karolina, I understand what you’re saying, but the situation in Iran is nothing like the one that exists in america. in fact, what is currently happening in america is tame compared to the circumstances in iran. yes, the middle class is very small, but in iran, the rich hold so much wealth that they can afford the best brands, the best homes, the best vacations and also have the opportunity to leave. the poor can hardly afford chicken at this point because prices are so high. the middle class which was relatively doing well during the Shah’s ruling, are diminishing to the point where they are either leaving the country because it is so unbearable or they have migrated to become poor themselves. there are people of course that are middle class and still living there but it’s not easy and it’s not getting any better.i’m obviously not the best source of information but i have family in middle class and a little upper class as well, and even those who are wealthy are feeling the pinch. it’s very very bad. and a lot of it stems from the amount of oppression and censorship that exists. which exists in America too, but the level is very different. i hope it never gets that bad in America. truly.

      • littlestar says:

        @someone – please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t life in Iran better under the Shah? I had always thought he was a more “liberal” ruler. This will sound like a crazy question, but do people in Iran ever regret the revolution? Because to an outsider like me (and as you are pointing out), Iran seems to be going backwards.

      • someone says:

        @littlestar, i really do think so. i’m pretty young so i don’t have actual experience of living in iran during that time, but i my parents lived in iran during his ruling and i’ve done a little research myself about it. it wasn’t idealistic (but i mean, what gov’t is?), but for the most part he did leave the people alone. they were allowed to dress as they pleased, women were allowed to study, and there was a lot of western influence that existed that showed in the social activities iranians were allowed to participate in (movies, sports, etc.). however, the shah was a dictator, and his SOVAK (the police) were pretty brutal. it wasn’t a fair gov’t and i’m sure a lot of iranians could correct me and say he was awful or something. he was a very frivolous man and he changed his mind constantly and tried to be very western through democracy, but he acted quite like a dictator when he did not like something. it was very unstable and his spending caused a lot of economic problems in iran. but i mean relatively speaking, he was much better than what is in place today. honestly, the way i interpret what happened from the people i’ve spoken to and the essays i’ve read, is that this islamic gov’t came into place because people were unhappy with the way the shah was ruling (he spent excessive money on himself and his family, and less contribution to the people, amongst other issues) and i think people believed that the country and gov’t needed control. and they blamed this lack of control on lack of religion. you know when there is an excess of one thing, you immediately look to the excess of the polar opposite as the solution? but i don’t think people expected khomeini to become the way he was. he was truly a beautiful and magnetic speaker and he brought in millions of followers all of whom believed he would bring that moderate ruling to iran. he did not however lol, of course. and he basically ran an islamic revolution that was extreme and terrifying.sorry for such a long answer. i’m definitely not an expert but this was my take on it, but very simplified.

      • Belle says:

        If you think there is such a drift between the rich and the poor in America, then hang on as it can get much, much worse. In the name of equality, the middle class is squeezed out, leaving two classes… the wealthy and the poor, with the wealthy in control. Sounds like a nice idea, but equality cannot exist in a democracy (or republic). There will always be those (such as out of control ‘elected officials’) that put themselves above everyone else… or exempt themselves from the rules they expect everyone else to abide by.

      • littlestar says:

        @someone – thank you for your response, it was so interesting. I love this kind of stuff and find it so fascinating. The Arab Spring was amazing when it was happening, and sadly, it hasn’t really gone anywhere. Really, if you think about it, it’s a parallel of the Iranian Revolution. So much hope that things are going to get better, yet it’s just more of the same, and often even worse. As you mentioned previously, you only have to look at Egypt to know that that is true. The Muslim Brotherhood is truly scary – it’s unreal that Morsi was voted in through democratic means, but then gave himself wide sweeping powers that couldn’t be challenged. It really makes you think, was the loss of so many lives really worth it? I don’t know what the solution to Iran’s problems or Eypt’s problems are. All I know is that it will likely take decades for these countries to reach any kind of “democracy” that is close to the West (if that is even an ideal to reach for). I hope that it’ll be the youth who will say one day, enough of this. But as you say, they’ve been so indoctrinated, so beat down, it’s hard to imagine that change will come quickly.

      • Karolina says:

        I know comparing the situation in the US to the situation in the Iran is basically comparing pears and apples, however what gets me so worked up is this – uh America – the WORLDNATION – bow down you little uncultivated wild fanatic countries. The US with their own shit is not one to talk! I would not want to live in the Iran, but I would definitely also not want to live in the US. This complete arrogance and ignorance towards the world from one country makes me sick.

    • littlestar says:

      Well said! Thank you for posting the truth about Iran. I was so upset in 2009 when the protests over the elections went no where. So many deaths for nothing! It was so devastating for your country. I know there is elections coming up again, and hopefully this means something good will happen. However, we all know Ahmadinejad is merely a puppet for the Ayatollah. I bet the outcome of the election has already been decided on :( .

      • someone says:

        you have hit the nail on the head, my friend. it’s very sad, but that’s the way it is. unless the supreme leader and his regime are overthrown, there is not much hope in terms of a new direction for leadership in iran. and the worst thing is, as i mentioned earlier, the modern intellectuals are leaving the country, which leaves the people who have relatively been brain-washed or manipulated by the gov’t. and of course, they believe this is the right way of gov’t and so they will continue to support them. it’s a terrible cycle. after a while, the gov’t no longer has to coerce people because years of oppression and force have warped the peoples’ minds. that’s been the history for the middle east i think for a long time. i’m pretty sure that’s how the muslim brotherhood came into effect in Egypt. after a while, the people are the ones advocating for it. and you can’t blame them. unless you have the skills or money to access news outside of the islamic crap they play on televisions all day long (they’ve banned satellite tv, websites, etc.), you are stuck listening to that news and eventually it effects the way you think.

      • The Original Original says:

        As bad as it is here in America lately, I am so sorry for the people of Iran. What an awful way to live :( I consider myself lucky to be here in America.

    • jane16 says:

      Yes, the Iranians I know are extremely intelligent.

  4. HotPockets says:

    I don’t have anything to say, other than DUH. Hollywood embellishes everything for the sake of being more dramatic and entertaining. The word Hollywood actually derives from holy woode, which in mythological times, was the wood that created Merlin, the Wizard’s wand, so he could create illusions. Thus, Hollywood being one big illusion for the masses.

  5. Emma - the JP Lover says:

    Celebitchy wrote: “In actuality, the Canadian government did a ton of work behind the scenes to get the American diplomats out of Iran, it wasn’t all American heroism and a skin-of-the-teeth escape with some Canadian hospitality.”

    You’re right … they did. I didn’t see “Argo” because I remember well the Iranian crisis and how the Canadian Government managed to bring several American diplomats with them when they closed their Embassy and left Iran. It was a very brave and daring feat. O Canada! indeed! :)

    I also remember watching on TV and joining in on the loud applause and shouts of “Thank You!” from the American crowd in 1980 at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid when the Canadian country sign crested the rise as their athletes entered the stadium. Man, I bawled like a baby. You just don’t forget moments like that.

    • i'm french don't kill me says:

      Canada could sue Affleck&co because at the end of the movie,CIA’s person says they decide to let Canada having all the honors or the characters clearly talk how Canada wants to drop them

    • Nance says:

      This make me think about the movie Titanic, where one of the crew (Murdoch ?) is evil for the sake of drama, when in real life he was a national hero. Fox and Cameron made public excuse for this later.

      • kP says:

        1. They didn’t make him evil, and 2. They didnt have him commit suicide for the sake of drama, they did it to acknowledge the survivors’ accounts of a crew member committing suicide, one who was in the area Murdoch would have been, and the survivors’ accounts of seeing Murdoch’s dead in the water.

        I am so fucking sick of all the small minds that cannot or will not discern the difference between a documentary and a work of art, be it a movie or a play or whatever.

      • Nance says:

        1. How do they not making him looks bad, he kills people in the movie.
        2. This is a “they can’t prove or not” this isn’t the truth situation AND they make excuses after.

      • Nance says:

        And by the way, I love the movie Titanic, just saying I don’t believe everything in it.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Yeah I 100% agree with your sentiment, KP, but the thing is documentaries are NOT unbiased either. The intent of a documentary is to deliver often factual content of a political, social or historical nature. That being said, watch anything by Michael Moore and you realize pretty quickly that the guy is editorializing a LOT. One could argue that even the insertion of narration changes the message of a documentary.
        In the end, whoever is producing the documentary likely has an agenda, even if that agenda is as simple as informing the American public about a topic they’re passionate about.

        If you want 100% accuracy then watch old news reels or something but if you are looking for truthful depiction of ANYTHING, you should probably avoid Hollywood-produced movies.

  6. Dawn says:

    Oh my god…it just goes to show ya that truth is always stranger than fiction. But I have to believe that Iran needs to concentrate on bigger issues then this movie. There is a reason that world thinks of them as crazy but it is not because of this movie. And that is all I have to say about it.

  7. Ranunculus says:

    I can’t stand Affleck. Him and his wife are major douches who constantly pimp out their kids for their own PR. Affleck is one of the worst actors in Hollywood, this guy has never given an even decent performance in his lousy career. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he did not stick with the facts to make a more Hollywood-loves-Americans-to-be-the-hero movie. I hope he gets some major flak. Ughh!

  8. embertine says:

    In that case, can the UK retrospectively sue for U-571? My abiding love of submarine movies was sorely tested by this one. Not just because it was hugely disrespectful to the British sailors who lost their lives, but also because it was a monumentally terrible film. Jon Bon Jovi. HONESTLY

  9. JL says:

    Iran will sue and North Korea will nuke us. I won’t be losing sleep over either possibility.

  10. berry says:

    Well as a Scot can I sue Mel Gibson over Braveheart?

  11. Erinn says:

    Anyone who watches a movie and assumes that it has completely correct history in it, needs to take a step back and do some research. That goes for most movies. Whether it is incorrect weapons, incorrect battles, incorrect relationships between people, it’s been created by hollywood for entertainment purposes. Not to teach what went down.

  12. Reece says:

    Instead of repeating “it’s a movie” I will as an American sue my own country for all the historical inaccuracies in every historically based movie made.

    Pearl Harbor was ATROCIOUS! Maybe I should just sue Ben Affleck.

  13. sitting quietly says:

    Suing, how American of them. Liked the movie a lot, but disappointed that it was soooo inaccurate.

    If someone wants to sue Ben, how about the Canadians.

  14. m says:

    So whats next, France is going to sue Les Mis because no one sang during the June barricades?

  15. vvvoid says:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to convey the emotional truth of a story on film without adding extra drama.

  16. CTgirl says:

    Come on. Is anyone really concerned about Iran suing? Whatever.

  17. spinner says:

    I did not see this movie.
    Did the movie display a disclaimer that the events depicted were not historically accurate?

    • Belle says:

      Yes. Not only did it say it was ‘based’ on actual events…. at the end it said something to the effect that certain events were changed or embellished. Very clear, no way around it… even for the Affleck haters who find this to be a great opportunity to bitch about him. ;)

  18. danni says:

    Ben Affleck is a very bad actress and very good director.
    all of his movies are very good.
    about Iran:
    first, the movie is incorrect for the ‘heroic’ scene, every child can see it.
    but, Iran’s leadership is the most evil in the whole world, so lets not feel pity for them .

  19. Nance says:

    Could we sue Iran for taking hostage? The movie might not be true, but this was.

  20. Lisa says:

    I didn’t think Argo was worthy of a Best Picture Oscar AT ALL. Don’t get me wrong: it was fine. It was entertaining. It had a nice, satisfying ending. But it was not Oscar material.

    Also, I went to see it with a good friend of mine who is Iranian. She and her parents left Iran when she was about 5 so that they could go to graduate school in Boston. Then the Revolution happened, so they stayed. (I have another friend whose parents came to the US for graduate school just before the Revolution and ended up staying. Many members of her mother’s family were killed in the Revolution.)

    The friend I saw it with was angry about a lot of things in the movie that, I have to say, I had not even thought twice about. At first, I was really frustrated having to deal with an angry friend. I had just wanted to see a movie, and of course I knew she might have a different reaction to it than I would, but I didn’t expect her to be so angry.

    BUT, when we actually sat and talked about why she felt the way she did, and how our perceptions differed, we both learned a lot.

    I *know* that the Iranian regime is not in any way OK, but it’s not as if the regime is the only one that has a negative response to the film. And I really wish that more people would listen to what the Iranian people have to say on the matter.

  21. Guest says:

    I read the articles from the Globe & Mail and Toronto Star and decided to ignore “Argo” although it is still clogging up our cinemas in Toronto.
    A more acccurate movie called “Escape from Iran the Canadian Caper” was made in 1981.
    Ex-ambadassor Mr Ken Taylor gave interviews explaining the facts and to his credit Ex-President Carter set the record straight on CNN.
    Iran should ignore Hollywood.

  22. Birdix says:

    Odd that they didn’t make this complaint before the Oscars, when it would have made more noise. Although that noise probably would have benefited the film, so maybe there is method to this madness.

  23. Mira says:

    First, Argo did not deserve to win the Best Picture. It’s a decent movie with a really hot-looking Affleck in it, but sure isn’t Best Picture worthy. It is a American movie about American hostages. It is a one-sided story and take it for what it is. That’s how movies are made. As a format movies intended for a wide release such as Argo should have some nail-biting moments like the one in the end else they just aren’t sustainable as big budget movies. Canadians and Iranians don’t have a voice in the movie because it’s told from an American perspective with a lot of “artistic license.”

  24. Nance says:

    Is someone here History wise and can tell us if the Iran made excuses for the hostage?

  25. Debbie says:

    honestly it’s a movie for god sakes one that everyone walked into knowing the ending, so obviously they are going to take a little creative license to build suspense and watching Canada pre-book tickets while accurate not the most exciting movie going experience. Also notice Canada isn’t bitching about this?

    I really don’t get why they are freaking? At the very beginning of the movie and honestly throughout we admit America was wrong in its actions with their leader. But the facts are the Iranians did take our emabassy hostage, the Canadians hid members of the embassy staff, the CIA with Hollywood’s and canada’s help went and got them out. And no one with even half a brain or a sliver of common sense thought this movie was 100% accurate.

    If Iran doesn’t want to look bad then don’t behave badly. Sorry but they did what the movie said they did in the hostage crisis and honestly no creative lisense in a movie will change what they did to our embassy or how we played games with their government to have better control of oil. It happened!!! Both side were wrong but getting upset about a movie seems over the top. Now if the movie acted like we hadn’t been an active participant in causing this chaos then I would be with them but we point out that we can be intrusive asses throughout the film!!

  26. j.eyre says:

    I, too, lived through the crisis and had a yellow ribbon tied around the tree out front our house for a year. I am with OKitt on this so I won’t get too far into the politics.

    But can a country sue a film? Part of me wants this to go forward just because the legalities, precedents and wording of the documents would fascinate me.

  27. CC says:

    Don’t movies always have disclaimers for made up situations that don;t resemble real life, and something or other made up for dramatic purpose? This isn’t a documentary, it’s a movie…

  28. Frivolity says:

    I’m sorry, as an American, I am pretty appalled by the people defending America to the end and not wanting to hear about the problems with this country. To say that an inaccurate portrayal of events in a film does not matter is to not know about communication effects and propaganda. There is a reason why the CIA has a Hollywood unit (though apparently they worked more closely with Zero Dark Thirty’s production than with Argo’s). These propaganda pieces are very dangerous. Ask yourself if you would feel the same way about a film made by Iranians that portrayed Americans or the American government negatively. And this does not have to be a fight between who’s the good guy – Iran or America. It is not a dichotomy. There are numerous grey areas – and I would suggest that neither nation can be held in high moral standing.
    Affleck’s film, to me, was mildly entertaining, though a great chunk of it was extremely boring at the beginning. Then, when it began to get exciting, it followed such a predictable Hollywood story arc. It was abundantly clear where the false incidents took place (i.e, in all of the scenes of high-stakes thrill). They rang so phony to me – along with the fabricated protagonist/antagonist conflict between Affleck’s character and one of the escapees. But what I find really depressing and disturbing is that this piece of propaganda – which portrays both the CIA and Hollywood as heroes – has been given so many accolades without much (or any) criticism from the American press. But then again, there you have exactly why.

    • jane16 says:

      Argo is not a propaganda movie. Its not a documentary. Its an movie made by Americans, based in Hollywood, who are in the movie business. They have every right to make whatever movies they want, however they want. 99.9999999% of movies about a true story are dramatized to make the movie more interesting.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      You are REALLY reaching with the propaganda comparison.

      Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

      How is that applicable to Argo? What movement is Affleck, the dastardly villain that he is, trying to push upon the American public?
      You’re giving Affleck WAY too much credit. He’s not a dictator or a brilliant political mastermind-he’s a DIRECTOR TELLING A STORY. His intent is to make an interesting film, PERIOD, not brainwash the American public.
      More importantly, during a time in American culture where one can click a button and find a wealth of information at one’s fingertips, propaganda is pretty obsolete, no? We’re not living in Nazi-era Germany.

      In your comment, you’re basically giving a review of a Hollywood film and admitting it was entertaining yet phony. So how is that propaganda? Are you under the impression that you’re just *SO CLEVER* that you were able to see through Argo’s inconsistencies but the average “dumb American” can’t?

      Gimmee a break.

      Stop treating people like moronic sheep who can’t think for themselves. We have every ability to research anything we want (it’s called GOOGLE) and we’re smart enough to distinguish between fact and fiction.

      As far as people “defending America” and “not wanting to hear about our problems” well, you came to the wrong place. I have my criticisms of the US, believe me, but I respect this country too much to trivialize my views on a celeb gossip blog.
      (no offense to C/B-I love it here)

      • Leen says:

        Actually Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.

        Not all propaganda is false nor harmful. However I’m an international relations graduate and we consider a lot of things supportive of the government as propaganda.

    • Debbie says:

      You’re seriously reaching. They clearly state it’s based on actual events at no point do they say yo this is exactly what happen, they say its based on. And really they are mad about the ending airport scene, really well then they can get lives!!! I mean it wasn’t a scene that made them look that bad. Chasing the plane so obvious for dramatic affect and FYI used in every movie basically since the 40s! Oh and the questioning before they boarded the plane hardly character assassination I mean I’ve been treated with that level of rudeness when I question an airline about my lost luggage.

      There was no propaganda it was a freaking move! A great one but still a movie meant to entertain. The only place they looked bad as a country was in the hostage crisis and THAT HAPPENED!!

    • Mira says:

      Frivolity – I agree with some of what you say. Cinema as a medium of mass communication is among the most effective portrayers of the evolution of a state. Like other forms of socio-cultural tools of dissemination, cinema can also manifest the strategic thinking of a nation and no where is this more evident than in Hollywood. Absolutely, there is a reason why the CIA has a Hollywood unit. The US has invested and continues to invest in movies as a tool to disseminate its strategic thinking. It’s a part of what is called “soft power” in International Relations. The Pentagon and the State Department have liaison offices in Hollywood. This is part of the American cultural and ideational campaign. There’s nothing wrong about this because big powers (states) use their soft power to mould global perceptions. The US being the biggest power in the world also has the advantage of language and global reach because of its distribution infrastructure. It’s no surprise that terrorism, Cold War, nuclear war, regional conflicts etc are dominant themes in American movies. All of these movies reflect an American way of life – values of liberty, democracy, free speech etc. Therefore they also tend to be very one-sided. They are propaganda in the sense of disseminating American ideational values.

      • Leen says:

        Very true. Regarding Argo, me and my IR class went to watch it and we were joking this is a propaganda film because its conveniently made in this time and age with Iran getting sanctioned and certain countries saying ‘war on Iran’. It’s way too coincidental which I’m afraid will intensify’ people’s feelings towards Iran subconsciously and consciously.

      • LAK says:


        people also seem to think that propaganda comes only in the form of jingoism. OK we saw that version when George W was in power.

        There is also the softly and subtle approach that shapes people’s views on any given subjects.

        And Hollywood is the master in this field. They have changed societal views on everything from Marriage to war to office politics.

      • Mira says:

        Leen – Nice to know a fellow IR grad student on CB :) Of course the movie is not a coincidence, at least that’s how we see it in the IR and Poli Sci community. Hollywood is the biggest and the most powerful soft power tools of the US. It is propaganda aimed at influencing the thinking of the public, both domestic and abroad. But propaganda as we see it is not essentially a negative term.

        LAK – Absolutely, ITA.

      • Ranunculus says:

        It’s a bit shocking that people don’t seem to care about factual inaccuracies, because it’s a Hollywood movie. Almost, if it is a movie it can get away with whitewashing and manipulation.

        In the last years the academy has really lowered the standard in movies, performances and themes IMHO. Movies that tackle delicate issues like The Master (which was about manipulation and presenting fiction as facts, btw) don’t get recognition, movies that soften important historical events get praised.

        And yes of course, movies and other forms of media play an important part regarding the manipulation of people and how they think. Michelle Obama showing up to present the Oscar for best picture really showed how close politics and Hollywood are connected. I think Obama is doing a good job as president, but I did not feel good about The First Lady showing up for a picture that was manipulative in presenting true facts.

      • Leen says:

        Very very true LAK. And those who say films do not influence societal views on wars/conflicts/country seriously underestimate the power of cinema. For instance a couple of years ago, an Israeli movie called Lebanon was released about the Lebanon war in 1982 and it was described as an anti-war movie. Some people were commenting that this would encourage more conscious objectors in Israel, and rightly, conscious objectors in Israel have increased with more people refusing to the army than before 2009.

        Mira – woop another IR graduate ;) Indeed, now don;t get me wrong I did like the movie but it’s obvious that it has a subtle message in it ESPECIALLY with the current climate about Iran (it was even more intense in November, around the time the movie was released). I’m afraid we IR folks are going to see a lot more glorification of CIA in the coming year with a special focus on Iran and ‘nuclear weapons being in the wrong hands’, as there is a good possibility that some countries are gearing up for a war on Iran in the next couple of years.
        But yes, Hollywood is a great instrument in this, it reaches many people and has the subconscious message of remember what the Iranians did to us in the 1980s?

      • Leen says:

        Ranunculus – Actually thanks for bringing up the Michelle Obama point, I didn’t realize how that actually plays in the politics/Hollywood dynamic. Isn’t it a bit strange that Iran has been the hot topic of politics and international relations and especially US foreign policy in the last year and here you have the First lady presenting the BEst Picture award to Argo?

      • Ranunculus says:


        Nobody can tell me M. Obama didn’t know Argo was going to win best picture. The whole thing was pretty cringe worthy. There was a lot of talk about Romney invading Iran if he had won the last election ….. I am a bit scared and hesitant to spin this thought any further.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Agreed – nice point with the Obama/Argo Oscar link Ranunculus.

  29. jensational says:

    But doesn’t Ben look goooooood in those clothes, striking that pose? Mmhmm!

  30. Pop Will Eat Itself says:

    Ah well. At least most of us agree that Argo was BS and that it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  31. Daahling says:

    It was just a movie. Pearl Harbor, Inglorious Basterds, Saving Private Ryan, X, I can continue… Someone inform Iran’s LEADERSHIP that we have this thing called the Constitution, and we can use our imaginations and spin stories and make movie of them. Anyone who took Argo as a history lesson, I can’t with you. Iran, calm down. It’s a movie. My goodness. But by all means, sue. That’s very American of Iran. ;)

  32. Ash says:

    I liked Argo until the last 30 minutes or so. Nothing to do with inaccuracy, just that it was SO obviously manipulative.

    From the minute they walked into the airport and the tickets weren’t there (but conveniently showed up 30 seconds later), my husband and I were rolling our eyes. I turned to him and said I’ll bet they’ll get chased down the runway by security and the plane will take off 3 seconds ahead of them. And guess what happened…

    Maybe it’s because my husband is a producer, but we can both spot that kind of shit from a mile away. It kind of ruined the entire movie for me.

  33. dee says:

    In precisely what court do they plan to file this suit? Is there some institution I ‘m unfamiliar with where nations have recourse when their feelings get hurt?

  34. The Wizz says:

    Iran – Ar Go F**k Yourself…as they say.

  35. rrabbit says:

    Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, the fiance of the terrorist known as Carlos, or Carlos the Jackal.

  36. ViloDeMenus says:

    Argo is a movie, not a documentary. Iran you’ve really lost your sense of humor.

    I’m to lazy to look it up but wouldn’t the world court at the Hague be where you would try international law? Yet another Hollywood nuisance suit for the cranky.