ROME – Iranian media blasted Ben Affleck and first lady Michelle Obama on Monday, reacting to Oscar victories for “Argo,” which Iran’s state TV dismissed as an “advertisement for the CIA.”
Press TV also quoted minister of culture and Islamic guidance Mohammad Hosseini saying Hollywood “distorted history,” countering “Argo’s” depiction of how the CIA tricked Iranian revolutionaries to smuggle out six Americans during the 1979 hostage crisis.
But what prompted most animosity was Obama announcing “Argo’s” best picture win. “The first lady announced the prize for the anti-Iran film ‘Argo,’ which was produced by Zionist company Warner Bros.,” said Iran’s hardline official news agency Fars News.
Wire service Mehr News said Obama’s involvement showed “Hollywood insiders” sacrificed quality and artistic value to “political slogans and distortions.” As further proof of this purported conspiracy, Mehr claimed most movie critics preferred “Lincoln.”
Mehr also blasted Affleck’s acceptance speech in which he thanked “friends in Iran who live under terrible circumstances,” saying, “After distorting history, Ben Affleck continues to present a bleak picture of Iran.”
In recent years more than a dozen directors and actors, most famously helmer Jafar Panahi, whose “Closed Curtain” unspooled at Berlin in February after being smuggled out, have been accused of propaganda against the regime. Many have been jailed or prevented from leaving Iran.
Iran won the 2011 foreign-language Oscar for Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” but boycotted this season’s awards in protest against a U.S.-made anti-Islam video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)