Cultures clash as Iran denounces '300'

March 14, 2007 at 1:12 PM

TEHRAN, March 14 (UPI) -- Hollywood once again is proving to be a flashpoint between Middle East and Western cultures, this time being denounced in Iran for the movie "300."

Iranian cultural adviser Javad Shangari calls the Warner Bros. film, which isn't being shown in Iran, "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological warfare aimed at Iranian culture," Variety said Wednesday.

A Warner Bros. spokesman said "300" is a work of fiction inspired by the Frank Miller graphic novel and only "loosely based" on an historical event in ancient Persia. The movie is not meant to "disparage an ethnicity or culture or make any sort of political statement," the spokesman said.

That didn't stop the Iranian daily Ayandeh-No to trumpet the headline "Hollywood declares war on Iranians." There also is an online petition with 35,000 signatures headed Warner Brothers' way.

The graphic movie's storyline focuses on the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. that pitted 300 Spartan soldiers against an invading army from Persia, which encompassed present-day Iran.

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