Skip to main content

Coming soon: Iran's response to 'Argo'

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 5:28 AM EST, Mon January 14, 2013
(File photo) Argo tells the story of a rescue of U.S. diplomats from revolutionary Iran.
(File photo) Argo tells the story of a rescue of U.S. diplomats from revolutionary Iran.
  • Ben Affleck's "Argo" tells the story of a dramatic rescue of U.S. diplomats from revolutionary Iran
  • Iranian state media criticize the movie as "replete with historical inaccuracies and distortions"
  • Iran's Art Bureau says it will fund its own film about the handing over of 20 U.S. hostages

(CNN) -- Ben Affleck has more than just a couple of Golden Globes to add to his resume.

His movie "Argo," about the suspenseful rescue of U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis, has also achieved the unusual honor of prompting Tehran to produce its own cinematic response.

Opinion: Latino should have played lead in 'Argo'

"Argo" was named best drama movie during the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday night in Los Angeles, and Affleck won the award for best director, a category for which he was passed over in the recent Oscar nominations.

The true story behind 'Argo'
Inside 'Argo' with the real hostages
Embassy workers discuss the real 'Argo'
Mendez on Argo in Iran

But his efforts to recreate on screen the drama of the secret operation by the CIA and Canada to extract six U.S. embassy workers from revolutionary Iran in 1980 haven't been overlooked by Tehran's Art Bureau.

'Argo' recognizes forgotten heroes of Iran hostage saga

It plans to fund a movie entitled "The General Staff," about 20 American hostages who were handed over to the United States by Iranian revolutionaries, according to a report last week by Mehr News, the official Iranian agency.

"This film, which will be a big production, should be an appropriate response to the ahistoric film 'Argo,'" said Ataollah Salmanian, the director of the Iranian film, according to Mehr.

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

But Iranian authorities have taken offense at the film's portrayal of the country and its people. "Argo" was officially viewed as "anti-Iranian" following its U.S. release last year, Mehr reported.

Iran's state-run broadcaster Press TV detailed its objections to the film in an online article on Sunday.

"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.

In the movie, in which Affleck plays the lead role, the CIA operation is shown outwitting Iranian authorities through an elaborate plan based on pretending that the U.S. diplomats fleeing the country were part of team scouting locations for an outlandish science-fiction film.

But according to Press TV, the film is "a far cry from a balanced narration" and is "replete with historical inaccuracies and distortions."

On the other hand, "The General Staff," set to begin shooting next year, will be based on eyewitness accounts, Salmanian said.

The Art Bureau, which is to provide the financing, is affiliated with the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, according to Mehr.

Press TV cited Salmanian as saying that his film would depict "the historical event unlike the American version which lacks a proper view of the story."

CNN's Samira Said contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.