Radioactive Fear

Propaganda to instill fear into the hearts and minds of Americans


Radioactive Fear
by Touraj Daryaee

There is now a new semi-documentary, semi-science fiction propaganda film in the US, entitled Iranium (Iran + Uranium). As an Iranian-American, after watching the film, I felt angry that here we were with another Hollywood film demonizing Iranians. This of course had started with the movie Not Without My Daughter filmed in 1991 in Neve Ilan, Israel about Iran. Then there was more, more recently the movie 300 which took the IEDs wielding Persians (same as Iranians) to the sixth century BCE, against the freedom-loving Spartans (my history degree tells me otherwise), who are actually American forces fighting in Iraq. These films were made by conservative and neo-conservatives who are part of the Hollywood fantasy/propaganda industry. One could say that it was fair, indeed a tradition, as during the Cold War, the Russians ended up as the “bad” guys in films, no matter whether the movie was concerned with ancient, medieval or modern history, or even science-fiction. However, this film goes beyond the world of Hollywood.

Nowadays a new bogyman has entered the American public life and that is Islam, and even those who are born in the Middle East. However, what makes the movie Iranium different from those mentioned above is that it has a clear message and intention and it is paid for by certain interested entities for a very clear reason. The movie emphasizes the hate that supposedly Iran has for the US and the international community and the danger of the destruction of the world (more precisely, Israel). The movie suggests that the US has not done anything to contain Iran, a sign of its weakness. This is of course in clear ignorance of the fact that Iran has been surrounded by US forces in Iraq, Republic of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a host of Persian Gulf Arab States and that it has been under heavy sanctions for decades. The film suggests that from the Iranian hostage crisis to Obama’s administration, the US has been soft against Iran in the past 30 odd years.

Iran is blamed for every bombing in Africa and the Middle East. From the bombings in Beirut in 1983 to the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 to Yemen in 2000, to even the 9/11, there are innuendos that Iran was involved in some way. The movie suggests Iran is behind every mischief that is taking place in the world in the past 30 years. Some of these allegations are documented and some are unclear, but many more is so far from the truth that one wonders why people with big titles and representatives of the US or other countries would make such claims that “Iran gave support to hijackers” of the 9/11 bombings. This claim is as accurate as stating that aliens from outer space helped the hijackers in their aim.

Experts from many news programs are prodded and the most trusted and accurate of them all, Fox News takes the majority of these showings in the film. But the first 40 minutes of the film is just a setup for what those behind the film really want to tell and that is Iran’s nuclear threat to the US, Israel and the world. The maps and diagrams show Iran’s capability through it proxies reaching Spain, Sweden, UK and Russia, or more directly their ability to load a dirty bomb or through missile attack on a cargo ship hitting such places as “Washington DC, Baltimore and New York.” Again, it is suggested that it is possible that Iran could launch an electromagnetic bomb in the atmosphere above the US which according to the film, in a year will kill 9 out of 10 Americans!

This is a good story for films that would be on the same shelf as the Day that the Earth Stood Still to The Blob. This part of the film certainly reminded me the science-fiction movies and quite interesting in the range of imagination and paranoia. More interesting is the contention that Iran may be able to infiltrate the US through the US-Mexico Border. I have bad news for the film makers, there are millions of Iranians in the US already and have infiltrated the country and are now lawyers, doctors, university professors and successful entrepreneurs. In fact the Iranian-Americans are one of the highest educated minorities in the US and their contribution has been enormous. These Iranians came here for a better life and not to infiltrate the US to bomb it. However, this film is bent on creating fear and by mixing the incursions through the border and linking it to your Iranian neighbor in the US, a nice psychological warfare program for the English speaking audience. Thus, anyone else coming from the border or on planes to the US is fine, but just watch for the Iranians.

The message of the film has been that “we” have been tolerant of Iran and that the US has no will to take action. What needs to be done is to have crippling sanctions and then military strikes on Iran. This aim follows the US policy towards Iraq, where from the time of President Bush Sr. in 1990 to the “Compassionate Conservative” President Bush Jr., according to UNICEF (United Nations) some estimated 500,000 children died as a result of these “compassionate” sanctions and “collateral” war, and another estimated 600,000 were killed in the war that lead to the freedom and democracy in Iraq. This is the prescription that is laid out at the end of the film by the talking-heads, and cemented together by the Iranian born Hollywood actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo. At the end of the film, the pitch is this: we should not wait for Israel to strike, the US will be blamed anyway, and so we might as well strike Iran first. This logic would not be acceptable even from a grade-school child, let alone from a motley crew of educated talking-heads.

But a little research into the foundations and personages behind the film points things to a certain direction. The movies if financed by several organizations, mainly the Clarion Fund, whose president is Raphael Shore who is also the co-producer of the film. Mr. Shore is a Canadian-Israeli film producer and Rabbi belonging to a Jewish Orthodox non-profit organization named Aish HaTorah. This organization seeks to amplify the danger of Islam to the world. His other “documentary” masterpieces include Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West (2005) and The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America (2008).

The director is Alex Traiman who lives in the Israeli West Banks settlement of Beit El. Kenneth Timmerman whom Simon Wiesenthal believes is “tracking down the murderers of tomorrow,” is at work in helping the victims of the September 11 attacks sue the government of Iran because of its support of al Qaeda, appears at rallies for the support of the Iranian monarchy, and has written on the plight of Christians in Iraq, the destruction of Israeli towns during the Hezbollah rocket attacks, and a novelist is one of the main talking heads in this “documentary.”

Other talking heads include Arnold Resnicoff who in the film is identified as the US Military Chaplin, but a quick search identifies him as conservative Rabbi and military officer as well; Dore Gold who is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; Michael Ledeen, a board member of the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, founded by Morris Amitay who was the former Executive Director of American Israel Public Affairs Committee; and Chet Nagle who is the author of the novel entitled: Iran Covenant which deals with Iranian attempt to have a multi-pronged attack on Israel (again, mind you, this is a novel).

Then there are US representatives as well who take part in the interviews, namely James Woolsey, the former CIA Director; former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton; NY Representative Eliot Engel, a vocal supporter of Israel, condemning Palestinian rocket attacks by Hammas and sponsoring the resolution in the Congress that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel; Nevada Representative Shelly Berkley who according to the Natasha Mozgovaya’s Israeli Newspaper Haaretz had said, “Berkley, a Jewish politician well-known for her support of Israel, backed the Israeli operation in Gaza during December and January, and even told Haaretz that Israel may have been too tolerant (earlier),” among other talking heads in the film.

There are also scholars such as Bernard Lewis whose politics is clear and has significantly changed since 1967. More intriguing is Clare Lopez, of the Center for Security Policy, and who believes that President Obama’s administration has been infiltrated by Islamists (Vali Nasr) and their supporters and that such organizations as NIAC and its President Trita Parsi (a Zoroastrian) are lobbyists for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her repeated showings jives well with her general paranoia that the US is being attacked from all directions, all the way to the US government. Simply put, no Muslim born person should have any contact with the US government.

Lastly, there are few Iranian figures that can not not be mentioned. First is a young man by the name of Amir Fakhravar, the leader of the rarely heard Independent Student Movement - of which he seems to be the sole member as other Iranian students avoid him like a plague - who was much publicized through his contacts with Richard Perle (Neocon theorist who pushed for attacks on Iraq). He is included in the film entitled: The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom; Mandana Zand Ervin, the President of the dubious organization called the Alliance of Iranian Women who has written an article objecting the award of the Noble Peace Prize to Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian, and Iranian woman to get such honor, in 2003 (how ironic is this!). She calls Ms. Ebadi “unknown Iranian woman for her unknown human-rights activities in Iran.” In fact the unknown is not Ms. Ebadi, but rather Ms. Zand Ervin, who partakes in Iranian separatists meetings; Lastly, it is Mohsen Sazgara, former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, then turned Green (supporter of the democracy movement in Iran), and now in his third metamorphosis, as a conservative talking head.

All of these people were brought together to make a propaganda film to instill fear into the hearts and minds of Americans that Iran and Iranians are coming to get them from Mexico, on cargo ships, with rockets and nuclear bombs. The message is to bomb Iran before they bomb “us,” or more correctly, one make an educated guess, if I am allowed, “Israel.” If I am not mistaken, there seems to be an overwhelming right-wing Israeli or pro-Israeli camp behind this film with its message. No matter how one is against the current government in Iran, the disseminating of some facts with lies and fantastic stories together is a disservice to everyone and does not do any good.

I can not end this piece without mentioning the Iranian-born actress Shohreh Aghdashloo who narrated this film. Her politics in recent times has become clearer and clearer, appearing in Fox News and being courted by neo-conservatives. Her last film, Stoning Soraya had all the elements of psychological warfare, backed by Christian right-wing zealots. She may have become a star in Hollywood, but she is no star for me, who never misses an opportunity to poison what the American audience gets to see from her about Iran and Iranians.

In the early 20th Century starting with D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, African-Americans were portrayed as slaves, criminals and brutal rapists, until Sydney Poitier objected this typecasting and played in such films as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night in the 1960s. He could have played the docile or mad or villainous African-American and get paid for it, but his consciousness would not allow it. He and others changed the image of African-Americans in Hollywood and gradually in the US. Ms. Aghdashloo, unfortunately lacks such consciousness and plays the Iranian female terrorist in the television shows, along with a host of negative images of Iranians in Hollywood, and partakes in this supposed “documentary.” I liked her old films in Iran, especially Sooteh Delan (Desiderium) where she played a prostitute, employed by a businessman, Habib Agha Zoroofchi to occupy his younger mentally-challenged brother. She appears to continue that role, but this time not for Habib Agha’s brother Majid Do Kaleh, but for another country and a much more sinister cause. I still like her old films.

Touraj Daryaee is the Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World and the Associate Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California, Irvine. He is the editor of the Name-ye Iran-e Bastan: The International Journal of Ancient Iranian Studies and the creator of Sasanika: The Late Antique Near East Project.


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Shohreh Aghdashloo is a sell out.

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

Fear mogering like Iranium is meant to harm Iran and not address the undemocratic groups that run Iran and have taken our country hostage.

Democracy is more than just voting, it requires the removal of racist, radical and armed groups.  So by definition it can never come about by Revolution or Regime Change.  It's a long road and I believe in Irans case one that only the Monarchy and its supporters can bring about. Best of luck to them.

We will see with Egypt, Tunisia, Libya etc that there peoples aspirations will turn to misery and a worse state, because they have no capability of keeping out the undesirable elements that are financed by western NGO's to maintain their Western National Interests.

Yes Khomeini had major western backing.


A well written piece

by spatima on

Couldnt agree more, specially on the comments in regards to Iranian ex-pats working for the neo-cons.

p.s. still trying to finish your-->Sasanian Persia: the rise and fall of an empire. another well written piece




In hope of a Free, Democratic, Independent and Secular Iran

Darius Kadivar

As for Separatist Tempations YOU should know better ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

As for Separatist Tempations :

SEPARATIST TEMPTATIONS: Don't Let It Fool You ... Treason Exists ... 

Well For an "Expert" in Ancient Persia I am surprised that you have not noticed that what has kept Iran United throughout it's history has been the Institution of the Monarchy:

Words For Eternity ...

Particulary in respecting the country's cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity:

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shahbanou Farah visits Persian Gulf Compatriots (1974)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah Greeted by "Bandari" People of Persian Gulf (1970's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE:Farah chatting with a local lady in Gilan Province (1970's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah visits Nursery in Tabriz (1960's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah Pays Respect to Baloutch Sunni Minority (1970's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah meets Kurdish Representatives (1948)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah Comforts Tabas Earthquake Victimes (1978)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah visits compatriots inflicted with leprosy (1970's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah Helps Clean Village Sewage System (1970's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah visits village wives and children (1970's) 

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah Greeted affectionately by girls in Luristan Province (1975)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Farah and Quashgai Kids (1976)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah and Soraya Share meal with worksman's family (1956)

PRINCE OF PERSIA: Crown Prince Reza and Iranian Asylum Seekers, London (2005) 

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah Jumps Over BondFire (1976/77)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah of Iran visits Earthquake Victimes in Tabas (1978)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah and Shahbanou Visit Schoolchildren (1970's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE:Shah and Shahbanou visit Boy Scouts and their leaders (1960's)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Prince Ali Reza Cheered by Rioters (1953)

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shahbanou Farah and School girls (1970's)

Something the Current Regime Clearly Has Not:

GIVE ME BACK MY COUNTRY: Bold Poem by a fellow compatriot denounces Ahmadinejad's Iran

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Pulitzer Prize Photo of Rebels Executed by Iran's Revolutionaries (1979)

Seven members of the Bahai faith to go on trial on Tuesday on charges of spying for Israel

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Vendetta Against Anglican Bishop in Iran (1980)

HOLOCAUST A MYTH: Michelle Renouf on Iranian SAHAR TV

Iranian Diaspora Intelligentsia Unite Against Islamic Republic's Holocaust Revisionism by Darius KADIVAR

As for Shirin Ebadi Well ... I can only Welcome her recent change of heart:

FINALLY GETTING IT RIGHT: Shirin Ebadi say's "I Don't believe in an Islamic Declaration of Human Rights"

ROYAL CURTSY: Shirin Ebadi Greeted by Monaco's Prince Albert II at Geneva UN Panel (2008)

Same thing for the former Ideological founder of IRI's revolutionary guards who has since joined the Opposition to the IRI :

Prisoner of Conscience: Akbar Ganji and Costa Gavras' Confession BY Darius KADIVAR

My Humble Opinion,

A Country that Loses it's Poetic Vision is a Country that faces death" -Saul Bellow.



Recommened readings:

My Very Humble and Non "expert" contribution and interest to the Field in which You Clearly seem to be an authority in with a respectable academic recognition ( See Iranian of the Day: Historian Touraj Daryaee wins award for book on Sasanian Persia ) :

THE LAST DYNASTY: Sassanian Glory Exhibit In Paris by DK

He is Awake: Close Up on Cyrus Kar by DK

XERXES: An interview with screenwriter Ren A. Hakim on the Love Story of of Queen Esther and Persian King  Xerxes by Darius KADIVAR

UNIVERSAL LEGACY: UK Foreign Office Spokesman's speech on Cyrus The Great's Cylinder by DK

Rawlinson's reading by DK

Swords and Sandals Films about Ancient Persia By Darius KADIVAR

KNIGHTHOOD: Re-Enactment of The Sassanian Cavalry (Short Film) by DK

Darius Kadivar

Stick to Archeology ... Clearly That's Your Field of Expertise

by Darius Kadivar on

Colonel Quaddafi launches Bomb Shells, Tanks and War Planes to Crush the upheavals in his own country:

Warplanes and Troops Besiege Protesters in Libyan Capital

But it doesn't slightly worry you liberal ANN TELECTUALS and pseudo experts on Iran and the Middle East ? :

Flynt Leverett's Article in the NY TImes)January 23, 2004:

Why Libya Gave Up on the Bomb :

Why Libya Gave Up on the Bomb - Op-Ed -

But When people denounce the IRI's intentions you dismiss it immediately because it comes out of the mouth of neo con or MKO sources ?

I don't particularly trust anything coming out of these extremist sources or the likes of Michael Leeden or Richard Pearl with a clear agenda which is not necessarily Bombing Iran but Regime Change at any cost. But after all they aren't even Iranian so they are not accountable to Iranians or Iranian interests but to their own Lobbies and interests.

But What difference does it make for the Iranian LIVING INSIDE IRAN suffering on a daily basis under the Iranian theocracy  between these extremist groups and those who under psuedo academic credentials defend the IRI Regime's survival ?

COLUMBIA PRESENTS: Academic Excellence With Hamid Dabashi & Sadri Bros 


LOST IN TRANSLATION: NIAC Welcomes Hamid Dabashi on Advisory Board

Personally I Fully Support Regime Change but without foreign military intervention. But I support any Foreign Support be it anti IRI propaganda if it means isolating the IRI and imposing Sanctions that don't hurt the people but the Regime. 

However what is far more interesting is observing the Blinding Neutrality of some of You Iranians in the Diaspora most probably because you have been brainwashed by years of Living in Iran after the revolution or have family or sentimental ties with the regime to the degree that the very prospect of seeing a Revolution or rather a Counter Revolution uprising in Iran may shatter all your own ideological constructions of what YOU think Iranians truly want.

Karim Sadjadpour best defined some of You Pseudo Intellectuals by comparing you to those who were fascinated by the Soviet Union or Cuba and applauded their model of society but refused to live there and experience first hand what They have to put up with: 


Well I've Got News For You !

YOU Can't Always Have What YOU Want :


RESTORATION: Shapour Bakhtiar advocates Restoring the Monarchy 





PS: For Your information the Stoning of Soraya M is based on a TRUE Story by the late Fereidoun Sahabjam who was anything but a Neo Con puppet:


And who was courageous enough to alert international opinion on the crimes being committed in Iran before it became fashionable including another Book on Iranian Child Soldiers published in French in the mid 1980's to general indifference of so called Human Rights groups like Amnesty International who 5 Years earlier were applauding with enthusiasm the Shah's departure for his so called "crimes" and the advent of the Islamic Republic in Iran:

"Je N'ai Plus de Larmes pour pleurer" aka " I have no more tears to cry" published in the early 1980's was to reveal and denounce the use of children as soldiers by the Iranian regime in its War against Iraq and their brainwashing process.


Recommended Readings:


D.W. Griffith's Intolerance - PersianMirror

  by Darius KADIVAR



Persia ?Ancient Persia's virtual absence in Hollywood by Darius KADIVAR

A Monty Python Visits Persia!

  by Darius KADIVAR


The Persian Empire Strikes Back

  ( On Film 300) by Darius KADIVAR



A Director's Cut: Cyrus Nowrasteh film The Stoning of Soraya M. By Darius KADIVAR

PARTNERS ON LOLITA ( In Tehran - Azar Nafisi) by Darius KADIVAR

Persepolis wins Prix du Jury at Cannes by Darius KADIVAR



I think the author is way

by Bavafa on

I think the author is way too generous to call this "semi-documentary"

When you bring together a bunch of known war-mongers with the known biased opinion with the sole purpose in instilling fear in people, much like the infamous 16 words in the UN, or the fear of "launching WMD within 45 minutes" then it ought to be called what it really is, pure propaganda with an ill intention towards other people.

Some may be wanting to portray Iran as a country capable and intending of "wiping off the map", but the reality is that currently another country in the region namely Israel has been actively working to wipe Palestine off the map. This is an undisputed fact, so we ought to judge by actions rather rhetoric.

A nuclear free middle east must be the goal if the [sane] world intention is peace & justice for all. But as evident by the last veto in the UN security counsel just a couple of days ago, US can hardly be trusted to safeguard peace & justice for all.



Shooting the messengers

by Fred on

What the author does in this rebuke of the, as he labels it “semi-documentary, semi-science fiction propaganda film in the US” is to shoot the messengers and not debunking the message.

The message is a rabid messianic Islamist Rapist regime which on more than one occasion has talked about “wiping off the map” a member state of the UN is on its way to acquire nuclear weapon.

The message is Iran is not Islamist Rapist Republic as the author tries to portray it.

As well as many other democratically elected leaders of the free world, the U.S president has said he is worried about the “weaponized program” of IRR,.

This author who to my knowledge does not get into rebuking the Islamist Rapists for what they do to Iran and Iranians, needs to reveal his sources which assures him the Islamist Rapists are not acquiring nuke weapon which almost certainly will invite devastation on Iran.


And for her narration of the “Uranium”, labeling Lady Aghdashloo as prostituting herself is really unbecoming of the good  professor.  

Mohammad Ala

Thank you Dr. Daryaee for your time and efforts.

by Mohammad Ala on

The goal of a nuclear weapons free world should be shared by all nations, including those who already have nuclear weapons.  It is unreasonable for countries with stockpiles of nuclear weapons to threaten countries that are seeking to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Iran abides by the non-proliferation treaty.  Yet there are countries that do not allow IAEA inspectors to visit their sites.