Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - Page updated at 08:11 AM

Iran gives U.S. hit "300" thumbs down
TEHRAN, Iran — The hit American movie "300" has angered Iranians who say the Greeks-vs.-Persians action flick insults their ancient culture and provokes animosity against Iran.
"Hollywood declares war on Iranians," blared a headline in Tuesday's edition of the independent Ayende-No newspaper.
The movie, which raked in more than $70 million in its opening weekend, is based on a comic-book fantasy version of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., in which 300 Spartans under King Leonidas held off a massive Persian invasion led by Xerxes at a mountain pass in Greece for three days.
Even some American reviewers noted the political overtones of the West-against-Iran storyline — and the way Persians are depicted as decadent, sexually flamboyant and evil in contrast to the noble Greeks.
In Iran, the movie hasn't opened and probably never will, given the government's restrictions on Western films, though one paper said bootleg DVDs were already available.
Still, it touched a sensitive nerve. Javad Shamghadri, cultural adviser to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the United States tries to "humiliate" Iran in order to reverse historical reality and "compensate for its wrongdoings in order to provoke American soldiers and warmongers" against Iran.
State-run television has run several commentaries the past two days calling the film insulting and has brought on Iranian film directors to point out its historical inaccuracies.
Iran's biggest circulation newspaper, Hamshahri, said "300" is "serving the policy of the U.S. leadership" and predicted it will "prompt a wave of protest in the world. {$326} Iranians living in the U.S. and Europe will not be indifferent about this obvious insult."
Western historians have often said the battle was the first major conflict between the East and the ancient Greek city-states, seen as the cradle for Western values and democracy.


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