Iran furious about Argo's Oscar - and Michelle Obama's dress
Iranian media Photoshop US First Lady and denounce Ben Affleck's winning movie as 'anti-Iranian'
NEWS that Argo, Ben Affleck's film about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, had scooped best picture at last night's Academy Awards did not go down well in Tehran, and neither did the attire of Michelle Obama, who co-presented the award.
The American First Lady appeared by video link from the White House to announce the winner wearing a silver beaded Naeem Khan dress that exposed her shoulders.
While the Iranian news agency Fars was unable to change the Academy's decision to reward Argo, it could and did take action over Michelle Obama's appearance. It Photoshopped the image of the First Lady so that the dress covered her shoulders.
Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper explained that the "low cut gown... would be banned in the Islamic republic under its strict dress code for women".
The Times pointed out that it was not the first time Iran had taken such action. "The state-controlled Iranian media pulled off a similar trick a year ago when it altered a picture of Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the European Union's chief nuclear negotiator, to conceal her cleavage," it reported.
It was not just Michelle Obama's dress that upset the Iranian media. The news agency Mehr, described as "semi-official" by the Times, suggested that the decision to allow the President’s wife to award the prize was "politically motivated".
According to the Washington Post, Fars described Argo as an "anti-Iran film... produced by the Zionist company Warner Bros". Iranian state TV called the movie "an advertisement for the CIA".
The film has been banned in Iran. "But on the streets of Tehran there is a healthy trade in bootlegged copies," The Times reported, "with DVDs selling for less than a dollar each."