Film about Iran’s nuclear program sparks controversy

Audiences divided on whether ’Iranium’ is accurate or alarmist; executive producer: This is a bigger issue than just Israel.

March 14, 2011 14:53
3 minute read.
Iranian Reactor

Iranian Reactor 311 reuters. (photo credit: reuters)


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The documentary film Iranium continues to generate controversy as it travels around the world warning audiences of the dangers of a nuclear Iran.

The film, which has already been shown in the United Kingdom, Canada and over 100 US cities, was screened late last month at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center to an audience of about 200.

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US official: Iran seeks nuclear weapons capability

Iranium’s premise is that the Iranian nuclear program constitutes a serious threat to international security, and that failure to deal with this issue now could irrevocably harm global security by allowing an extremist, terror-supporting regime to develop nuclear weapons.

The team behind Iranium, the New York-based Clarion Fund, has previously made two other documentaries about radical Islam – Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West and The Third Jihad.

“We made the focus of the film the Iranian threat to America and the Western world in general,” said Raphael Shore, the film’s Canadian-Israeli executive producer. “We do have a couple sections in the film that address the threat to Israel, but this is a much bigger issue than just Israel, and that’s what we try to get across in the film, that Americans should not fight this war against Iran because of a desire to to keep Israel from being annihilated, but rather of their own concern for themselves, having to face a nuclear terrorist state that is the No. 1 supporter of terror in the world.”

The documentary has had a polarizing effect since its February 8 premiere. Fox News’ Sean Hannity devoted a special hour-long episode to Iranium, and the network continued to report on it weeks after its US release.


But PBS reporters Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib disparaged the film for what they called its “alarmist” tone, and for overstating the case against the Iranian regime.

Shohreh Aghdashloo, the Iranian-American actress who narrates the film, was criticized in a BBC Persian television report for Iranium’s alleged exaggeration of the scope of political executions in Iran, and the fact that director Alex Traiman lives in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

“Israelis should want to see this film because they are clearly the No. 1 immediate target for Iran,” Shore said.

“Many people think, ‘[Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is a nut job, and if we could just get rid of him, everything would be okay,’” he went on. “We show that no, the regime controls 30-40 percent of the economy in Iran, and Ahmadinejad is one important pillar of three, but there are also the imams and also the Revolutionary Guards and the justice system. This is something that’s a deeply entrenched threat from Iran, as a regime and not as a particular individual.”

Shore added that “if Israelis understood it in a fuller way, it would increase their resolve at seeing their government act in the most immediate, forceful way to prevent disaster.”

He said the film offers no particular solution for confronting the Iranian threat, but presents several courses of action – sanctions, containment, regime change or military action – and lets the viewer reach his or her own conclusions.

“The film doesn’t advocate one particular avenue,” he stated, “but we clearly show that what has happened so far has not been enough.”

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