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Iran's Basij Awards U.S. First Lady Over Oscars Announcement


U.S. first lady Michelle Obama announces the Best Picture Oscar to "Argo," live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House on February 24.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama announces the Best Picture Oscar to "Argo," live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House on February 24.

In a weekend ceremony, the commander of Iran's Basij force presented U.S. first lady Michelle Obama an award for showing "the truth about the Oscar awards to the world."

"If we had spent billions of dollars, we could not show a link and allegiance between Hollywood and the U.S. government and the White House," Naghdi was quoted as saying at the award ceremony.

He said the award ceremony was the "funeral" of the Oscars.

The award, titled "Wet Gunpowder," was announced last week by Commander Yaghoub Soleimani, the head of the Basij's Rahian Noor Camp, who said the decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to have Obama award the Oscar for Best Picture to the "anti-Iranian" film "Argo" prompted the prize.

Yaghoub said the first lady deserved her own award for proving that the awards for such movies are based on political, not artistic, criteria.

The award is the latest in a series of bizarre reactions by Iran to "Argo," which has angered officials over its depiction of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran.

The statue for the Iranian award is in the shape of a brain with glasses and a hearing aid, with an inscription of a verse from the Koran that reads, "Unwilling to hear, unwilling to speak, unwilling to see, then, they will not return to the way" (see here for pictures of the award ceremony and the award statue).

Basij officials have said that the "Wet Gunpowder" award will be presented every year to an opponent of the Islamic establishment who inadvertently serves the Islamic Revolution.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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