By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
An Iranian military commander says his group will give U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama an award for revealing the “real nature” of Hollywood’s annual Oscar awards.
The official White House photo of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama announcing the Best Picture Oscar to "Argo" live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House on February 24.
Commander Yaghoub Soleimani, a senior member of the Rahian Noor Camp -- said to be affiliated with Iran’s armed forces -- 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 an award.
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 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 hardline Fars news agency that if the Swiss ambassador decides not to attend, the award statue will 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 establishment.
Iranian officials criticized the movie before its February 24 win at the Oscars, and then again after.
And earlier this month, it was reported that the 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.
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