A proposal by movie director Oliver Stone to make a documentary about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has denied the Holocaust and expressed a wish for Israel to be extinguished, could come together after all.
According to Press TV, an Iranian-based report, Ahmadinejad said he has no objections in principle to a plan for the Oscar-winner to make a film about him.
Stone repeatedly has asked for permission to do the project, overlooking summary rejections from Iranian officials.
At a news conference today, Ahmadinejad was asked how he would answer Stone’s latest request, on which WND reported earlier.
“I have no objection, generally speaking, but they have to let me know what are the frameworks. They should talk to my colleagues. Principally speaking, I have no objection,” Ahmadinejad said.
A message left by WND for Stone’s agent wasn’t returned.
Mahdi Kalhor, the media adviser to the president, previously announced Ahmadinejad’s rejection of an earlier request, saying the U.S. movie industry lacked “real art and culture.”
Ahmadinejad’s earlier refusal was couched in insulting terms, when he called Stone a part of the “Great Satan,” a term Iran has used to describe the U.S. since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Ahmadinejad’s media adviser had said that while Stone may be a member of the “opposition” in the U.S., he’s “still part of the Great Satan.”
Stone shot back.
“I’ve been called a lot of things, but never a ‘Great Satan,'” the director said in a statement.
As WND reported , Stone then took a swipe at President Bush.
“I wish the Iranian people well, and I only hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours,” he said.
Iranian officials also have accused Hollywood in other projects of distorting the history of Iran and damaging its international image. Even Stone’s 2004 project, “Alexander,” was criticized for portraying Alexander the Great as a hero when he invaded an ancient Persian capital 300 years before Christ.
As WND reported, an Iranian news service said Stone made the initial request a few months ago, and the Iranian president’s office had studied it.
But Kalhor objected, saying the U.S. and Britain have distorted Ahmadinejad’s image.
“We believe that the American cinema system is devoid of all culture and art and is only used as a device,” Kalhor said. “In the last two years, the global arrogance (the U.S. and Britain) has made a lot of effort to portray their own image of Ahmadinejad, not the one which exists in reality. Hollywood and other Zionist media react to phenomena they don’t like through different processes.”
Then an Iranian news agency reported Stone renewed his request, with an offer to help Iran improve its image.
“Stone’s publicist referred to the bad image that the U.S. media has given to Islam and Islamic countries and said that the documentary could assist in countering such negative propaganda,” filmmaker Alireza Sajjadpur, an adviser to the president, told the Mehr News Agency.
He said the new request has been submitted by Stone’s publicist via e-mail to the president’s office.
Mehr reported that Sajjadpur is consulted regularly by Ahmadinejad’s art and cultural advisers and is secretary of Iran’s Islamic Society of Artists. He told the agency that the Western media and Hollywood are responsible for creating a bad image for Islam.
“We should see how Stone can manage to improve this image within such a bad atmosphere which has been created by the media,” he said.
A report by the Iranian Student News Agency suggested Stone had the credentials to make the film, noting he has made statements opposing “U.S. hostile policies” and already has experience with a documentary of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in his background.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appearing at “The World Without Zionism” conference Oct. 26, 2005
Stone has won several Academy Awards, including best director for “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July.” He won wide acclaim for his depiction of the heroic rescue of two police officers on 9/11 in “World Trade Center.” Stone’s other work has included documentaries about Cuban President Fidel Castro and former U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.
Ahmadinejad took over his role as Iran’s leader in 2005 after serving in the Revolutionary Guards and in other leadership posts. His insistence on continuing a program to pursue nuclear power, as well as his support for militant organizations in Iraq and other Mideast countries, have put him at odds with many leaders in the U.S.
Ahmadinejad also has urged Iranians to prepare for the coming of an Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, by turning the country into an advanced Islamic society and by avoiding the corruption and excesses of the West.
As WND reported, some fear a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration Ahmadinejad envisions will set the stage for the end of the world.