Iran to make own movie to counter 'distorted' Argo

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Iran is to make its own movie about the American hostage drama during the 1979 Islamic revolution to counter the "distorted" film "Argo" by Ben Affleck, which swept the Golden Globes awards, media said Tuesday.

Iranian actor and filmmaker Ataollah Salmanian was quoted in the reports as saying the screenplay for the Iranian movie was ready.

"The draft of the movie, 'Setad Moshtarak' (The General staff), has been approved by (Iran's) art centre and it awaits budget to start shooting," Salmanian said.

"The movie is about 20 American hostages who were handed over to the US embassy by Iranian revolutionaries at the beginning of the (Islamic) revolution. This movie... can be an appropriate response to distorted movies such as 'Argo'."

On November 4, 1979, Iranian Islamist students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage, holding them for 444 days in an action that caused the rupture of diplomatic ties between Washington and Tehran.

"Argo" chronicles the hostage drama, with Hollywood actor-director Affleck playing a CIA agent who rescues six US diplomats from the Canadian ambassador's residence in Tehran.

The movie has been accused of taking liberties with history, notably by exaggerating the role of the CIA in getting the US diplomats out, at the expense of the Canadian envoy in Tehran at the time.

Affleck won both best dramatic film and director awards at the Golden Globes on Sunday for the movie.

"Argo" has been banned in Iran but pirated copies are being circulated in the country.

Iranian media dismissed the movie's success and criticised the Golden Globes as a "political ceremony."

"'Argo' is a sign of Ben Affleck's attempt to recreate Tehran in 1980. While his attempt might be ridiculous for Iranians, it has delighted American experts and critics," said the daily 7Sobh.

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