Police shut down Al-Alam over 'Pharaoh' airing

LONDON — Egyptian police have raided the offices of an Iranian TV network in Cairo in protest at the airing of a documentary which labeled assassinated Egyptian prexy Anwar Sadat a traitor.

Egyptian officials shut down the Cairo office of Iranian state-owned Arabic-language satcaster Al-Alam on July 24, accusing it of not owning a proper broadcast license. Al-Alam’s Cairo bureau chief told local reporters the closure was connected to the controversial docu “Assassination of a Pharaoh,” which was produced by the hard-line Iranian group Headquarters for the Commemoration of the Martyrs of the International Islamic Movement.

“Assassination of a Pharaoh,” which has already aired on Iranian TV, labels Sadat a “traitor” for signing the 1979 peace deal with Israel, which followed from the 1978 Camp David peace accords brokered by U.S. prexy Jimmy Carter and celebrates his killer, Khaled Istambouli, as a martyr.

Istambouli, a member of the Egypt’s Islamist Jamaa Al-Islamiya militant group, shot the Egyptian prexy in 1981 during a military parade.

Anwar Sadat’s family has threatened to sue pic’s producers for defamation, while many Egyptian film execs have rallied to decry the political motives behind the project.

Pic is a setback to attempts to redress the tense relationship between Egypt and Iran. The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1980 after Egypt’s peace deal with Israel and the Egyptian government’s offer of refuge to the Shah of Iran, who was deposed in 1979 after the Iranian revolution and ascent to power of Ayatollah Khomeini.

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