Commander Yaghoub Soleimani, a senior member of the Rahian Noor Camp -- said to be affiliated with Iran's Basij force, a paramilitary organization operating under the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps -- said on March 28 that the decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to have Mrs. Obama award the Best Picture Oscar to the "anti-Iranian" film "Argo" prompted some "supporters of the Islamic Revolution" to organize an "international congress" to give her a prize.
He was quoted as saying that the first lady deserves her own award for proving, albeit inadvertently, that the awards for such movies are based on political, not artistic, criteria.
"Argo" depicts the plight of six Americans who escaped the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and subsequent hostage siege and found refuge in the Canadian ambassador’s residence.
Iranian news sources report that the three-day event started on March 27 and is being held in the town of Shalamcheh, which is on the border with Iraq.
Soleimani said the Swiss ambassador to Iran has been invited to the congress -- which is inexplicably titled "Wet Gunpowder" -- to receive the award on behalf of Obama.
The Swiss Embassy in Tehran represents U.S. interests in the Islamic republic.
Soleimani told the semi-official Fars news agency that if the Swiss ambassador decided not to attend, the award statue would be mailed to Obama, presumably at the White House.
This is just the latest odd response by Iran to "Argo," which seems to have become a lingering irritant for the Iranian establishment.
Iranian officials criticized the movie before its February 24 win at the Oscars and then again after.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Iranian government has hired a French lawyer to file a lawsuit against "Hollywood" over a series of movies, including "Argo," that Iranian officials say distort the true image of the Islamic republic.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari