Oscar-winning “Argo” hasn’t been released in Iran. This doesn’t seem to be particularly hurting Ben Affleck’s film’s box office standing, but nonetheless the Iranian government is targeting the director's pocketbook: due to the film’s “unrealistic portrayal” of Iran, the ayatollahs have decided they want to sue Hollywood.
“We don’t expect anything else from the enemy,” Iran’s Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini said after a screening of the movie in Tehran on Monday evening, the AP reported. Iran’s state TV, PressTV, called the film, which depicts a wily Canadian outsmarting the Iranian government during the 1979 revolution, “politically motivated,” and the semi-official Mehr news agency said Argo was “advertisement for the CIA.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, might not know this, but since Hollywood is actually not controlled by any central agency, there isn’t one phone number to call. Whether or not they'll be aiming to sue the studio, the individual producers, the director, the actors, the film assistants, the caterers or all of the above has not been determined.
Not to worry. The Iranian government is reportedly in talks with the French attorney Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, former lawyer for the supposed 20th 9/11 hijacker Zacharias Moussaoui, who is currently serving a life sentence in the U.S., and betrothed (as well as former defender) of Carlos “The Jackal,” the famous Venezuelan terrorist responsible for the 1975 attack on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna. Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, is serving a life sentence in Paris for the attack, which killed three people.
The Iranian government is not the first self-proclaimed David to launch a slingshot at the supposed Hollywood Goliath. In January, the family of late actor Charles Bronson announced they were filing suit against 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures, the Daily Mail reported. The class action was filed to obtain what the family says are hundreds of millions in royalties. In 2000, a woman named Cleanthi Peters sued Universal Studios for $15,000 after she visited the Universal Studios’s Halloween Horror Nights, got “too scared” and suffered “extreme emotional distress.” In 1996, the family of a shooting victim tried to sue director Oliver Stone and Warner Brothers, the studio that produced “Natural Born Killers,” for inspiring two people to go on the crime spree that killed their daughter. The charges were dismissed in 2001.
Bootleg DVD copies of “Argo” have reportedly been experiencing record sales.
PressTV also announced on Tuesday that the Iranian government would be launching the first ever Iranian entertainment channel broadcast in English, which will serve as “window onto Iran’s culture, civilization, and history for the people of the world.”
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.