New Iranian film on Sadat stirs controversy in Egypt

According to Al-Ma'sri Al-Yawm, the film calls the slain Egyptian leader "treacherous" while lauding his assassin as a "martyr."

Sadat Begin 224.88 (photo credit: Archive photo)
Sadat Begin 224.88
(photo credit: Archive photo)
The family of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is threatening to sue the producers of a new Iranian documentary that portrays his killing in 1981 as the assassination of a traitor by a martyr. Sadat was the first Arab leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel, a decision that was meet with praise in the East but rendered him hugely unpopular in the Arab world. According to the Egyptian daily Al-Ma'sri Al-Yawm, the film, which has already been broadcast in Iran, is in honor of the martyrs of the Islamic renaissance and deals with the revolutionary assassination of the" treacherous" Egyptian president at the hands of the martyr, Khalid Al-Islambouli. Iran cut its diplomatic relations with Egypt following Sadat's signing of the Camp David peace agreement with Israel in 1979. Sadat's welcoming of the shah of Iran following the collapse of his regime in 1979 sharpened the tensions between the two countries. This was compounded when an Iranian street was named after Al-Islambouli. Lately, there has been an easing of tensions. Perhaps the most significant visit was that of Iran's National Security Council Ali Larijani to Cairo in December. Larijani, a close aide of Iran's spiritual leader Ali Khamanai, met with high-ranking Egyptian officials, including Egypt's foreign minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit, security chief Omar Suleiman and secretary general of the Arab League, the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar Muhammad Sayid Tantawi. It remains unclear what effect the release of the film will have on the relations between the local powerhouses.