INTERNATIONAL

Iran protests film

Tehran: In Iran's pantheon of hated Western symbols Hollywood is already firmly established as a place of cultural decadence. But now the country's Islamic leadership has accused it of ``psychological warfare'' in its depiction of the battle between the Greeks and Persians at Thermopylae in 480BC. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Government has joined MPs, bloggers and local media in denouncing the newly released Warner Brothers film, "300", as a calculated attempt to demonise Iran. Mr. Ahmadinejad's spokesman branded the film ``an insult to Iran'' while four MPs have urged the Foreign Ministry to pressure other Muslim countries to ban it. The film portrays the heroic endeavours of 300 Spartans, under King Leonidas, who resist an invading force of 120,000 Persians led by Emperor Xerxes. The tiny Spartan force is defeated only by treachery after a three-day stand-off. Iranians have complained that the film represents them as savage, murderous and warmongering.

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006