Rosewater: Hollywood’s Morbid Obsession with Iran

Rosewater, a film marking the directorial debut of ‘The Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart, and the showman-turned-director’s first attempt to stoke up flames of Iranophobia in America and the world came to waste due to the inefficiency of the filmmaker on the one hand and the poorly-written scenario on the other.

Rosewater which is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, written by Maziar Bahari apparently chronicles the writer’s observations of the presidential unrest in Iran in 2008.

Contrary to the expectations of the writer and the director, the movie has garnered but despairingly sparse critical attention in the world. Gael García Bernal who plays Maziar Bahari seems to have lost his acting talent in this movie. Burdened with a clichéd role, the young man in Amores Perros (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu; 2000) jeopardizes his future career by embarking on such a demagogic flick.

Rosewater details the story of Canadian-Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari who had been arrested in Iran during incidents which followed Iran’s 10th presidential election in 2009.  After a while, he was released on bail on account of his wife’s pregnancy. Afterwards, Bahari went to London and filed a lawsuit with the British media regulator Ofcom against Press TV. Bahari’s complaint was based on a 10-second clip of his interview with Press TV in which he said, “On Monday, June 15, 2009, I sent a report about an attack against a Basij base to UK’s Channel 4 as well as to Newsweek magazine.” The footage showed selected parts of the incidents which sparked the Western media hype against Iran.

However, Bahari, an obscure journalist, made use of this incident to his best interests. And seeing a fertile soil in Hollywood which is hell bent on conducing to Iranophobia and has indeed a long history in this regard by financing movies such as Not Without My Daughter (1991) and Argo (2012), Bahari sold his anti-Iran project to the fear factory.

Within Washington’s corridors of power, Iranophobia has long been an agenda of the hawks who keep beating the drums of war on Iran with the express intention of pushing the nation to the very margins of economic and political isolation. They claim that a nuclear Iran would gravely threaten US national security, that the Islamic Republic poses a greater threat to world peace than North Korea or any country on the face of the earth and that the US and Israel should make a preemptive strike against the country. In an overtly pugnacious op-ed titled “Stopping A Nuclear Tehran” in 2008, former US senators Daniel R. Coats and Charles S. Robb visualized the ‘nightmare of a nuclear-capable Iran’ and made insolently preposterous calls on the officials in Washington to launch an attack on the country.

… an Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons capability would be strategically untenable. It would threaten U.S. national security, regional peace and stability, energy security, the efficacy of multilateralism, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. While a nuclear attack is the worst-case scenario, Iran would not need to employ a nuclear arsenal to threaten U.S. interests.

After all, the hawks need to seek vindicatory avenues through fabricating a nuclear fear. American officials have never admitted that Iran has nuclear weapons at its disposal. As a matter of fact, their literature on this score is vastly ambiguous. All they repeat saying is that “Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons.”

How is it that an Iran with the ‘mere nuclear knowhow’ will strike unutterable terror into the hearts of people all across the universe while irresponsible regimes such as Washington and Tel Aviv with well-stocked nuclear arsenals at their disposal pose no threat at all? Was it not the United States which dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 129,000 people in August 1945? Was it not the United States which planned to “blow up the moon with a nuclear bomb in the 1950s as a display of the country’s strength” during the Cold War space race?

According to a report released in 2014 by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), at the beginning of 2014, “nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4000 operational nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 16300 nuclear weapons.”

The report also reveals that Israel has 80 of the world’s 16,300 nuclear warheads.

None the less, the report makes no mention of any Iranian nuclear weapons.

In 2014, a concerted chorus of ‘bomb Iran’ voices arose in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister ordering “to prep for strike on Iran in 2014” and allocating 10 billion shekels (US$2.87 billion) for the groundwork.

Indeed, that is not a new threat.

However, Tel Aviv and Washington have in the recent past resorted to the use of another weapon in their silent war against the Islamic Republic:  Iranophobia through the cinema.

Cinema is a fascinating world and it can definitely leave a greater impact in stage-managing public opining about Iran. To that effect, Hollywood is being used by the Zionists and their powerful lobbies.

If Rosewater is not another opprobrious act of Iranophobia, what is?

Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian journalist, political analyst and lexicographer. A former editor in chief of the Tehran Times Daily, he is currently professor of English literature at the University of Tehran. Read other articles by Ismail.