Lawyer For Iran Mulling ‘Argo’ Suits In France, Switzerland, U.S.; Says Obama Oscar Appearance Seen As Government Strategy

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, the lawyer investigating possible litigation over Argo’s portrayal of Iran, tells me she is weighing options on how to proceed and is considering bringing suit in France, Switzerland or the U.S. The French attorney traveled to Tehran last week at the “urgent” request of the culture minister and speaking by phone today, she called Argo “the cherry on top” of a string of movies that Iranian officials consider an affront to their nation and people. Authorities, she said, are concerned historical facts and the way in which Iranians are depicted are distortions and want “to be able to give their point of view so that they are not seen as mad men.”

Argo is based on the story of how the CIA and Hollywood orchestrated the escape of six Americans from Iran in 1979, but when I asked if it was understood by officials that the Ben Affleck-directed film is a fictionalized account, Coutant-Peyre countered, “It claims to be a sort of documentary… In the beginning of the film it says it is taken from declassified documents.” She called it a “report” on an event “which is distorted in the film.” She further said it was part of what is considered a “strategy of strong pressure from the American government” which was made clear “via Mrs. Obama” when she announced Argo‘s Best Picture Oscar win on February 24. When I suggested that the names of Academy Award winners are kept secret until the envelopes are opened on Oscar night, Coutant-Peyre responded, “You think they didn’t know? That’s not true. The president knew.” (more…)

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