Iran to Sue ‘Argo’ & Affleck: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Ben Affleck in Argo

The Oscar-winning film Argo has been under scrutiny from Iran since its release back in October and has angered the community after its Oscar win in February. Insulted Iranian officials are now making plans to sue Ben Affleck and his team for portraying the country in a negative form. Here’s what you should know about Iran’s plan of action against the actor-turned-filmmaker.

1. Famed Lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre Will Represent Iran

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre

French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre told the Tehran Times that she is speaking with Iranian officials to sue the film’s makers for its inaccurate portrayal of Iran: 

I will defend Iran against the films like ‘Argo’, which are produced in Hollywood to give a bad image of Iran. I will stand by the Iranian people to inform the world about the dissemination of propaganda against Iran.

The lawyer is known for representing criminals such as Zacarius Moussaoui, who had a role in 9/11, and her husband Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, also known as the fugitive Carlos the Jackal.

2. Iran Wants to Remake Argo 

Ataollah Salmanian

Many Iranian news media have aligned against Hollywood’s take on the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Iranian director Ataollah Salmanian told Mehr News that his interpretation of the Canadian caper titled The General Staff will show Iran’s side of the story. The Tehran Times reported that the screenplay for the film has been written and the movie will be funded by the Iranian Art Department. Salmanian said that his movie will be fully supported by the government:

This film, which will be a huge production, should be an appropriate answer to the film Argo, which lacks a proper view of historical events.

3. Iran Held a Private Screening for the Film

The Hoax of Hollywood

Iranian officials held a private screening of Argo this week as part of a conference called “The Hoax of Hollywood.” The panel addressed the legal action of filing a lawsuit and called the film a “violation of international cultural norms.” The community addressed a statement saying that Argo is a propaganda attack against their nation and humanity. Iran said there were other reasons for the riots in Tehran that weren’t addressed in the movie.

4. Iran Doesn’t Plan to Show Argo to the Public

Iran Movie Theater

With only the private screening, the Iranian government doesn’t plan to let the public view the film, but that hasn’t stopped its citizens from watching it illegally. Iranians are able to get the film off the streets through bootleg DVDs, which have seen increased sales since the movie earned buzz. The movie has divided Iran’s views between those who were there in 1979 and the young generation.

5. Iran Attempted to Enter this Year’s Oscars

A Cube of Sugar Screenshot

Iran has a world-renowned film industry, which has been represented in many international film festivals. For this year’s Oscars, Iran tried to send an entry for the Foreign Film category with a movie called A Cube of Sugar. The film was not nominated this year for the category. Meanwhile, on the same day the nomination was sent, the Iranian government tried to boycott the Academy after the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims was released.

6. Iranian Government Tried to Boycott the Oscars

Mohammad Ali Hosseini

The Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister Mohammad Ali Hosseini confirmed with Reuters that the government would be boycotting the ceremony for allowing Argo to be part of the roster of nominees.

7. Some Iranians Gave a Positive Response

Argo screenshot

With the young generation viewing Argo, many have given a positive response to the film, saying that it showed what happened to Iran at its desperation during the 1979 hostage crisis. It reminded the people who were involved of all the pain and suffering that the country faced as their future was left uncertain.

8. Historical Inaccuracies Were Made 

Real Argo victims

Even though Argo was able to portray what happened during the Canadian Caper, there were many things that the film wasn’t able to accurately show. The movie, for instance, showed that the CIA had a huge role in freeing the hostages while giving Canada a minimal role as well as countries like England and New Zealand. In reality, the other nations were quite helpful. Also, the dangers shown in the film never actually took place during the operation.

9. Iran Has Shown Anger Toward Hollywood Before


This hasn’t been the first time that Iran has shown hate toward Hollywood for inaccurately portraying its people. When Zak Snyder’s film 300 released, Iran criticized the film for its portrayal of ancient Persians. The Iranian film industry submitted a complaint to UNESCO, a department in the United Nations promoting education. Afterward, the film was banned from being shown in Iran.

10. Iran Won an Oscar for The Separation 

The Separation

Iran was shown in a positive light by the film The Separation, which won an Oscar last year in the Foreign category and became the first Iranian film to do so. The film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, the first non-English film to do that in five years. The film focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, and the problems that arise after the husband hires someone to care for his father, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

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