'Argo' take two? Iranian film maker takes on Ben Affleck

Tehran-based film-maker Ataollah Salmanian says his new film 'The General Staff' will be an appropriate response to Ben Affleck's "ahistorical' thriller", and tell the the hostage crisis from the Iranian perspective.

Early evidence suggests Salmanian's film may opt to ignore the rescue mission altogether in favour of a parallel hostage drama. "The movie … is about the 20 American hostages who were delivered to the United States by the revolutionaries," the director told Mehr,  Iran's semi-official news agency. It is thought this refers to the case of the US diplomats who were freed as a humanitarian gesture shortly after the start of the 444-day crisis.

Salmanian claims he has already written the script, but production on the picture has yet to begin. 'The General Staff' will be produced by Iran's state-affiliated Arts Bureau.

Affleck's thriller is banned in Iran, where it is officially viewed as "anti-Iranian". Mohammad Hosseini, the country's minister of culture and Islamic guidance, has described it as "an offensive act" motivated by "evil intentions".

Ben Affleck - director and star of Argo (Credit: Wenn)
'Argo' tells the story of efforts to rescue six  US diplomats from Tehran in 1979, in the immediate wake of Iran's Islamic revolution. The film  is nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture.

By concentrating on the daring CIA-backed mission to rescue the diplomats, critics claim it puts a positive spin on an event that is still widely regarded as a US foreign policy disaster.
 
'Argo' has faced criticism for alleged historical inaccuracies and for claiming that British and New Zealand officials initially turned away the US refugees.

This week Affleck won best director and best picture at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards.