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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 14:43 GMT
Iran condemns Hollywood war epic
The Persian king Xerxes in 300
One paper said Iranians' ancestors were shown as "dumb savages"
Effects-laden war epic 300 has been criticised as an attack on Iranian culture by government figures.

The Hollywood film, which has broken US box office records, is a retelling of a battle in which a small Greek army resisted a Persian invasion.

Javad Shamaqdari, a cultural advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said it was "plundering Iran's historic past and insulting this civilization".

He branded the film "psychological warfare" against Tehran and its people.

But Iranian culture was strong enough to withstand the assault, Mr Shamaqdari insisted.

"American cultural officials thought they could get mental satisfaction by plundering Iran's historic past and insulting this civilization," he said.

"Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the US initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture.

"Certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies."

Daily newspaper Ayandeh-No carried the headline "Hollywood declares war on Iranians".

The film achieved the best ever March opening in North America
The paper said: "It seeks to tell people that Iran, which is in the Axis of Evil now, has for long been the source of evil and modern Iranians' ancestors are the ugly murderous dumb savages you see in 300."

Three MPs in the Iranian parliament have also written to the foreign ministry to protest against the production and screening of this "anti-Iranian Hollywood film".

The film has already proved a major box office hit in the US where it earned almost $71m (36.8m) in its first weekend, making it the best ever March opening in North American cinemas.

This is not the first time Iran has protested over its portrayal in films made in the West.

There was outrage over the 2004 epic Alexander which showed the Macedonian general easily conquering the Persian Empire.

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