New Emissary

Iran’s Movie Warfare?

Iran may use a recent real-life news story as propaganda against its top Western nemesis.

In another fascinating example of international propaganda warfare, it seems that now Iran intends to use the mysterious case of Shahram Amiri, a nuclear scientist who was allegedly kidnapped by US spies last year, to its advantage by converting it into a form of ideological weapon against its top Western nemesis.

As has been widely reported by media sources, including the Tehran Times, the surreal story of Amiri, who inexplicably returned to his home country last month after having been missing for over a year, will soon be made in to a movie. And who’s in charge of the project? State-affiliated production company Sima Films. Sima has stated on the current progress of the film that ‘Several young screenwriters are collaborating in this project, and shooting will begin as soon as the screenplay is finished.’

The LA Times made an amusing proposal for what the title for such a film might be, suggesting ‘The Talented Mr. Amiri,’ a play off The Talented Mr. Ripley, a 1999 psychological thriller starring Jude Law and Matt Damon. But from what I know of the Shahram Amiri story so far, I’d put forward something more like The Amiri Identity.

After all, Amiri’s is no simple plot involving one madman and few surrounding title characters—it seems a much deeper conspiracy involving various international forces—including, reportedly, the CIA, which is said to have paid Amiri $5 million dollars ‘to provide intelligence on Iran's nuclear program,’ (although he ended up going home to his family without the cash.)

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And what really happened is still difficult to figure out when faced with accounts from various media sources—especially those from the US and Iran. Did Amiri voluntarily arrive in the US? Or was he forcibly kept there by authorities to provide the US government with information on Iran’s nuclear programme? Or was he a spy sent by Iran to find out how much America knows about its nuclear efforts? Or was he originally a defector who went to the US but then returned to Iran after his own government found out and threatened the safety of his family?

I kind of wish a US version of Amiri’s tale will also be made to get another perspective. But I have a feeling that no matter how many versions of it are told, until the unlikely event that Amiri himself decides to disclose the whole truth, we’ll never know the real story.