Tehran’s supreme leader admits he has not actually seen the movie himself.
The Oscar-nominated movie American Sniper about an elite U.S. Navy Seal is an example of anti-Islam propaganda, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei was reported on Tuesday as saying.
Veteran actor-director Clint Eastwood’s film, which was released on Dec. 25 and has garnered six Oscar nominations, tells the story of Chris Kyle’s four tours in Iraq as a sniper. Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper in the movie, is officially credited with killing 160 people in Iraq.
“This Sniper film which has made so much noise … encourages a young person, for example a Christian or non-Muslim, to harass a Muslim as much as possible,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei as saying. “That’s what they say about the film. I haven’t seen it myself,” he added.
Khamenei’s comments, published on the website khamenei.ir which showcases his speeches, were made three weeks ago after the early January attacks by jihadists in Paris against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket that killed 17 people. Khamenei denounced “propaganda against Muslims in Europe and America,” saying there was “no trace of aggression against non-Muslims by Muslims” since the advent of the Islamic republic in 1979.
Iran recognizes three minority religions within the country—Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism—and their adherents have certain rights. However, it does not recognize Baha’is, considering their Israel-based religion to be heretical.