CNews – -
By Jessica Murphy
A documentary film critical of Iran’s policies and nuclear ambitions finally got its Ottawa debut Sunday night after twice being cancelled when Library and Archives Canada bowed to pressure from the Iranian embassy.
Heritage Minister James Moore, who personally intervened to ensure Iranium would be shown, said Sunday the feds needed to send the message Canada wouldn’t be bullied by foreign governments into censuring films.
â€śIt’s a victory for free expression,â€ť he said before heading to the sold out screening at the federal building’s theatre.
â€śSort of an unfortunate victory because we shouldn’t have been in this place to begin with.â€ť
The head of the film society that organized the original Iranium screening said he still has questions over the â€śbizarreâ€ť string of events that led to the cancellation of the original January debut.
â€śWhat is the nature of the complaint from the Iranian Embassy, why did they listen to the Iranian Embassy?â€ť asked Frederick Litwin from the Free Thinking Film Society, which is hosting Sunday’s screening.
The library called off the original show after receiving a complaint from the embassy, which objected to the film’s content.
The library flip-flopped after Moore’s intervention, but then pulled the plug again over protest threats. It also called in police and a hazardous materials team to investigate suspicious letters, which were later found not to be dangerous. The screening was finally rescheduled for early February.
Moore maintained the library was out of line in dropping the film.
â€śThis is a decision that will be remembered for some time,â€ť he said.
Litwin said he’s almost grateful for the Iranian embassy’s intervention because it generated buzz for Iranium the film wouldn’t have otherwise received.
â€śI think I should give them some fine Israeli wine as a gift,â€ť Litwin quipped.
This article was originally published here.