Iran’s representative to UNESCO, Mohammad-Reza Dehshiri, issued a protest in a letter to the UN cultural organizaiton’s director general against the Warner Brothers blockbuster 300, calling it an insult to Iranian culture. Dehshiri called on UNESCO to bring the issue to the General Assembly as a “Violation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage.” He has sent similar letters to the heads of the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77. The Iranian Academy of Arts has also prepared a declaration asking UNESCO to take action against distribution of the film. The declaration emphasizes UNESCO’s responsibility to protect the world’s cultural heritage, saying it should not be silent toward the degrading of cultures through art and cinema. (IranMania, March 18; Payvand, March 16)
The outcry to the movie within Iran has been vociferous. “Hollywood declares war on Iranians,” blared a headline in the March 13 edition of the independent Ayende-No newspaper. “The film depicts Iranians as demons, without culture, feeling or humanity, who think of nothing except attacking other nations and killing people,” Ayende-No said. “It is a new effort to slander the Iranian people and civilization before world public opinion at a time of increasing American threats against Iran.”
Iran’s biggest circulation newspaper, Hamshahri, said 300 is “serving the policy of the US leadership” and predicted it will “prompt a wave of protest in the world… Iranians living in the U.S. and Europe will not be indifferent about this obvious insult.” Javad Shamghadri, cultural adviser to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the movie was a US attempt to “humiliate” Iran in order to “compensate for its wrongdoings in order to provoke American soldiers and warmongers.” (AP, March 15)
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