Iranian ‘Nuke’ game ready to strike

Video game counters U.S. 'Assault on Iran'

Iranian students are locked and loaded in their battle against America.

The hardline Union of Students Islamic Assn. has created a computer game that enables gamers to rescue a pair of Iranian scientists captured by U.S. forces while on a pilgrimage to the holy Shia shrine in Karbala, Iraq.

“Special Operation 85: Hostage Rescue,” or “Rescue the Nuke Scientist” as it is also being called, lets players take on the role of a crack Iranian special forces officer as he journeys to Israel, where the two scientists are being kept.

“This is our defense against the enemy’s cultural onslaught,” student leader Mohammad Taqi Fakhrian said last week at a Tehran press confab to launch the game.

The game mixes in some real-life politics along with its derring-do: also being held captive in the Israeli jail are four other Iranians who disappeared from Lebanon in 1982 during that country’s civil war. Though no official confirmation has ever been received by the Iranian government regarding the whereabouts of the three diplomats and photographer, some believe the four were handed over by Lebanese Christian militiamen to the Israeli army, who at the time had forged an alliance during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon that year.

The students developed the game as counterpoint to U.S. company Kuma Reality Games’ “Assault on Iran,” a free online game that simulates a U.S. strike on an Iranian nuclear energy installation. “In this game we are not promoting terrorism and violence,” said Fakhrian. “By freeing Iranian hostages we are promoting sacrifice, devotion and defense of our country.”

The game, three years in the making, was developed with the encouragement of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Iranian flag appears throughout in the top right corner of the screen and players are greeted with the message that “with resistance, you can battle the enemy” anytime they lose a life.

But don’t expect the game to hit store shelves in the U.S. anytime soon. Fakhrian is concentrating on releasing the game in Iran and other Muslim countries first — although plans to launch the game in the West in are in the works.

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