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Iran Demands Hollywood Apology

Hope that Iran was opening up to Hollywood diplomacy was perhaps a little premature.

Iran's presidential arts adviser, Javad Shamqadari, has made some interesting comments in connection with the visit of a Hollywood delegation to Tehran.

Shamqadari is quoted by Iran's ISNA news agency as saying: "We will only believe Obama's policy of change when we see a change in Hollywood too."

Shamqadari also said that Iran's cinema officials would meet with members of the delegation only if they apologize for the "insults and slanders they have hurled at the Iranian nation over the past 30 years."

Shamqadari said that Iranian hospitality did not prevent Tehran from urging the Hollywood team to apologize and added that Hollywood is making other films aimed at "insulting and accusing" Iran.

Last week, a spokesman from Iran's Foreign Ministry said that Hollywood "has 30 anti-Iranian movies in the offing with the subject of hostility towards Iran's historical and Islamic identity."

Films like "300" and "The Wrestler" have particularly angered the Iranians.

Shamqadari's comments seem to be designed for internal consumption and to demonstrate that, even though Iran is prepared to issue visas for the Hollywood delegation, it isn't ready to lay the issue to rest.

Today, the ultra-conservative "Kayhan" daily went further and, in its editorial, blasted the visit by the Hollywood delegation and suggested that the visit is more than just a cultural exchange and that it is following a U.S. political agenda.

"Kayhan" wrote that Hollywood producer Sydney Genis, who is leading the team, is very influential and is seen in the United States as a minister who can meet with top U.S. officials whenever he wants.

"Kayhan" added that the job of Genis and his team is to expand U.S. culture and supremacy.

According to the editorial, members of the Hollywood team that arrived in Iran have a long record in producing anti-Iranian movies and movies that support "Zionists."

As an example Kayhan points to the "Adventures of the Young Indiana Jones" and says that the film promotes "Zionist myths and legends." Iranian hardliners have said the same about Harry Potter.

So much for cultural diplomacy.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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