An Iranian state news agency aired doctored images of Michelle Obama in its coverage of the Academy Awards, altering a shot of the first lady to make her gown appear less revealing. Obama presented the award for best picture from the White House via satellite on Sunday. She wore a silver scoop-neck gown, which exposed her shoulders and the upper portion of her chest.
Fars, an Iranian state-sponsored organization, edited a photograph of the presentation to add sleeves and a higher neckline to Obama’s dress, reflecting the conservative values of the Islamic country.
“Argo” the film that won the award for best picture, depicts a joint mission carried out by the CIA and the Canadian government to extract a group of six American diplomats during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.
During the crisis, 52 Americans were held hostage for over a year after the United States Embassy in Tehran was seized by Iranian protestors. Iranian officials and media have criticized the film for presenting “distorted history” and dismissed it as “an advertisement for the CIA.”
“The movie is an anti-Iran film. It is not a valuable film from the artistic point of view. It won the prize by resorting to extended advertisement and investment,” Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini told IRNA, the country’s official news agency.
The Associated Press reports that Fars coverage of the Oscars claimed that “Argo” was made with the support of the U.S. government, based on the first lady’s role in presenting the award.
The film has been barred from screenings in Iranian theaters, but has still reached Iranians through pirated copies. Speaking to USA Today, Tehran City Council member Masoomeh Ebtekar accused the film of exaggerating the level of violence that the hostages faced from the protesting crowds, who he claims were mostly students.
Former President Jimmy Carter, whose administration presided over the crisis, also said that the film was somewhat historically inaccurate, presenting the CIA as the primary mission handlers rather than the Canadians involved. The mission came to be known as the “Canadian Caper” after it was executed.