Two US ex-diplomats in Tehran slam Argo as demonizing Iran

Press TV – March 1, 2013

Two former US diplomats, who were held in Tehran following the seizure of the US Embassy in 1979, have slammed the anti-Iranian Oscar-winning motion picture Argo for reinforcing negative views about Iranians and the Islamic Revolution.

“…The film does not convey the prevailing Iranian sense of grievance” that prompted Iranian students to take over the embassy that led to the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy by Iranian students, John Limbert, who served as political officer at the US Embassy in Tehran, was quoted as saying.

Speaking at a Capitol Hill event on Monday, Limbert noted that the Americans are frustrated by contradictory US behavior of creating anti-Americanism in Iran on the one hand and its attempt to repair long-held bilateral animosity on the other, according to a report in the current edition of US-based journal Foreign Policy.

“Argo,” he said, “highlights the negative attitudes that the two countries have held toward each other for decades.”

He criticized President Barack Obama for his failure to make any substantive offers to Iran for a reasonable resolution of issues relating to its nuclear energy program.

Limbert emphasized that the US claim of following a two-track approach to engage and pressure the Islamic Republic is, in effect, a single-track policy.

“The US ‘two-track’ policy of engagement and pressure has – in reality – only one track: multi-lateral and unilateral sanctions, that whatever their stated intention and real effects, are allowing the Iranian government to claim credit for defying an international bully,” said the US diplomat, who also speaks fluent Farsi.

“To move forward,” he added, “we must stop holding all questions hostage to agreement on the nuclear issue; such an approach guarantees failure…. After all, if we and the Iranians could never agree on anything, [the former US charge d’affaires in Tehran in 1979] Ambassador [Bruce] Laingen and I would still be in Tehran.”

Speaking at the same event, sponsored by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and the National Iranian American Council among other groups, Laingen also dismissed Argo as an effort to highlight a negative image of Iran among the American audience.

He stressed the need to destroy the current wall of mistrust between American and Iranian governments, saying, “Only sustained, robust, and comprehensive diplomacy based on the premise of mutual compromise can break this cycle, which threatens to enflame the region.”

The Hollywood movie Argo has been widely criticized as fabricating facts about events subsequent to the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran by students following the line of the late revolutionary founder Imam Khomeini due to persisting suspicions that it was actively engaged in espionage and intervention in Iranian affairs with the aim of overthrowing the nascent Islamic Republic. The suspicions were proven authentic after the students published classified documents discovered inside the embassy.

MFB/KA/SS

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