Ahmadinejad: film tampers with history

Iranian prexy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has joined the uproar over Warner Bros’ “300.”

In a televised speech marking the Iranian New Year on Wednesday, the hardliner accused Western powers of “trying to tamper with history by making a film and by making Iran’s image look savage.”

Although he didn’t mention “300” by name, Ahmadinejad’s attack comes in the wake of widespread Iranian anger at the film, which re-creates the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartan soldiers fought a Persian army numbering in the thousands.

“By psychological war, propaganda and misuse of the organizations they have themselves created, and for which they have written the rules, and over which they have the monopoly, they are trying to prevent our nation’s development,” Ahmadinejad added.

Last week, the president’s cultural adviser, Javad Shangari, accused the film of being “part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological warfare aimed against Iranian culture.”

An online petition set up by Canadian-based Iranian archaeologist Hamed Vahdati Nasab protesting the film has tallied more than 50,000 signatures from Iranians across the world.

Though the pic is unlikely to receive a theatrical release in Iran, black-market DVDs are believed to be widely available on the streets of Tehran. Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel has proved a box office smash Stateside, grossing $130 million in its first two weeks of release.

Warner released a statement saying, “The film ‘300’ is a work of fiction inspired by the Frank Miller graphic novel and loosely based on an historical event. The studio developed this film purely as a fictional work with the sole purpose of entertaining audiences; it is not meant to disparage an ethnicity or culture or make any sort of political statement.”

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