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300 under attack from Iran


Story by Rob Carnevale

RECORD-breaking Spartan epic 300 has been described as an attack on Iranian culture by government figures who are angered by the film’s depiction of the Persian invaders.

Zack Snyder’s film, which broke US box office records for a March opening, chronicles the 480BC Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans held off an army of over 400,000 Persians for three days.

But it has been criticised by Javad Shamqadri, a cultural advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who feels it “plunders” Iran’s historic past and “insults this civilization”.

He has accused the film of being a form of “psychological warfare” against Tehran and its people – although he qualified it by insisting that Iranian culture was strong enough to withstand the assault.

“American cultural officials thought they could get mental satisfaction by plundering Iran’s historic past and insulting this civilization,” he told the BBC.

“Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the US initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture. Certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies.”

The story has even been reported in daily Iranian newspapers with one publication, Ayandeh-No reportedly carrying the headline “Hollywood declares war on Iranians”.

The paper said: “It seeks to tell people that Iran, which is in the Axis of Evil now, has for long been the source of evil and modern Iranians’ ancestors are the ugly murderous dumb savages you see in 300.”

In a further move against the film, three MPs from the Iranian parliament have written to the foreign ministry to protest against the production and screening of this “anti-Iranian Hollywood film”.

300 opens in UK cinemas on March 23, 2007. Watch clips and trailer