It wasn’t just celebrity no-nothings who got political at last Sunday’s Oscars ceremony. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s film “The Salesman” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, but he wasn’t in attendance to protest Trump’s travel ban (that’s no longer in effect), blasting it as an “inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US.”
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarik applauded Farhadi’s protest.
Proud of cast & crew of "The Salesman" for Oscar & stance against #MuslimBan. Iranians have represented culture & civilization for millennia
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 27, 2017
Isn’t it great getting lectured by Iran on our humanity? While we give our filmmakers awards, would it be appropriate to remind everyone that Iran jailed filmmaker Kenwan Karimi in October of 2015 for a year for “insulting sanctities,” Jafar Panahi for six years for trying to make an “anti-regime” documentary, or women’s rights activist Mahnaz Mohammad for five years for “collaborating with the BBC?”
With the regime as critical of dissent as it is, one’s options for film-making in Iran are obviously limited to other topics…. like anti-American propaganda.
According to the Associated Press: In a climactic battle at sea, an Iranian commander orders his forces to open fire on a much larger U.S. fleet, obliterating it with a barrage of rockets, some of which tear American flags from their masts. The scenario unfolds in “Battle of the Persian Gulf II,” a new Iranian animated film more than four years in the making that imagines a devastating response to an American attack on the country’s nuclear program.
The nearly 90-minute film, a sequel to a production about the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, begins with a U.S. attack on an Iranian nuclear reactor. Washington has long warned it would take military action to prevent Iran from developing an atomic weapon, while Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
That sets up a showdown in the Persian Gulf, where the real-life U.S. Navy has accused Iranian forces of harassing its vessels in recent months.
In the film, a character who closely resembles Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, leads a single vessel against more than a dozen American warships. When a U.S. commander orders him to surrender or die, he replies: “”General, I am not a diplomat, I am a revolutionary!”
He warns that any American soldiers taking part in an attack on Iran “should order their coffins,” before his forces destroy the whole U.S. fleet.
Director Farhad Azima stated that “This [film] is a response to hundreds of (anti-Iranian) American movies and video games,” he said. “We are saying that if you fire one bullet against Iran, a rain of hot lead will be poured on your forces.”
Azima insists that the timing of the release (being after Trump put Iran “on notice”) is merely coincidental, and he’s telling the truth on that one. It’s not like he’d put four years of work into this film with the expectation that then-real estate developer Donald Trump would become president and turn up the heat on Iran.
Regardless, if they think this film is some sort of threat, let’s take a look at reality. Iran spends $10.26 billion on their military annually – while the U.S. spends roughly $1.6 billion… a day.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]