The World from The Hill: New ‘Iranium’ film gets lawmakers’ attention

The Hill – –

By Bridget Johnson
February 13, 2011

Lawmakers participated in a new fi

lm on Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons intended to get the attention of the White House and Congress.

The Iranian government, which claims it is expanding its nuclear program for peaceful energy purposes, has condemned “Iranium” and successfully lobbied Canada to postpone a showing of it. The Canadian government subsequently reversed course and showed the 60-minute documentary.

Iran declared last week, on the eve of the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, that it had “mastered” nuclear fusion. The film explicitly ties nuclear dominance to the goals of the 1979 revolution, and points out how the nuclear progression has coincided with threats against Israel and the West.

“Iranium,” which

is narrated by Oscar winner Shohreh Aghdashloo, was screened in the Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday. Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Allen West (R-Fla.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) were in attendance.

Three legislators participated in the filming of “Iranium”: Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Reps. Engel and Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), both members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“It was really kind of like word of mouth,” first-time director Alex Traiman told The Hill of how the lawmakers came to be involved in “Iranium.”

Many lawmakers were invited to participate in the 10-day shoot that included 25 interviews across Washington, but “really most of it had to do with scheduling” and not a lack of interest, Traiman said.

The two Democrats and Republican who are featured onscreen are known for drawing attention to the Islamic regime.

“We know that Iran is the leading sponsor and supporter of terrorism around the world,” Engel says in the film. “We have to succeed. You know that old, tired adage ‘failure is not an option’? Failure’s not an option.”

Of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Berkley says, “We talked for many years that he was just a front and the real power was the mullahs.

“The reality is this: Whether it’s the mullahs that are calling the shots or the president of Iran that is calling the shots their remarks are the same.”

The film comes as the latest refrain on Iran is steered more toward human rights and democracy than nuclear development.

Tehran praised Egyptians for rising up against Hosni Mubarak’s secular government, calling it an Islamic awakening and stinging rebuke of the West.

But whereas some trace the roots of the grass-roots, social-media-driven revolt in Egypt to the Green Revolution protests against Ahmadinejad’s 2009 election, Iran quickly made clear this weekend that no opposition rallies — “riots by seditionists” — would be permitted, sparking a rebuke from the White House and vows by the opposition to press forward and protest anyway.

The desire to topple the regime is certainly shared by many on Capitol Hill as shown through bipartisan efforts in the last Congress. Yet even with a Republican House majority, legislation dealing with Iran’s nuclear program has been slow to emerge from the 112th Congress.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced the Tough and Smart National Security Act last month, which includes the sense of the Senate that Congress should “confront the nuclear threat from Iran.” His office didn’t respond to a request to expound upon this.

In the film’s bonus footage posted online, Kyl said Iran has been facing “relatively low-grade sanctions” from the West in the financial, trade and banking sectors, but said they should be expanded to the energy and technology sectors.

“Those kinds of sanctions can directly affect the ability of the regime to survive and we need to make those even stronger,” he said.

On Sunday, the head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce said that the international business community had lent a valuable hand in rendering sanctions ineffective.

“We could be, I think, much more effective at putting pressure on the Iranian regime if we had an effective sanction to cut off their import of refined gas,” Kyl said.

“Iranium” is produced by the nonprofit Clarion Fund, a group that drew headlines shortly before the 2008 presidential election.

The group at the time sent 28 million DVDs of the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” to swing states to be tucked into newspapers. A handful of of media outlets refused to carry the insert, echoing the concerns of some groups that branded the film “fear-mongering” and “divisive.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) hosted a screening of “Obsession” on Capitol Hill in 2006 after Cantor’s cousin was killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv.

The Clarion Fund counts former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes among its board members.

This article was originally published here.

5 thoughts on “The World from The Hill: New ‘Iranium’ film gets lawmakers’ attention

  • Wisdom does not perceive or judge anything from another country and especially Iran from our own world view but rather seeks to understand and perceive it from theirs, this film helps us peace-loving Canadians to get a glimpse of Iran’s worldview. Thanks to all who were a part of getting this film to us!

  • (I am proud of the facts and the logical assumptions made via the movie) I am grateful this movie for one was available & i do appreciate those involved in allowing this movie to be shown.

    As I saw this movie- the most surprising thing about it was that EMP weapon. Also the Hezbollah crossing the Southern border so easily. If the West wants to stay on it’s haunches until the last possible reasonable date to be bold enough to take a stand against Iran, then we have ‘punted’ the advantage for WWIII to Iran and the Middle East. We have also delegated Israel to pick up the responsibility and take the heat. When will our time be? Before it is too late?
    Let’s stop trying to believe that Diplomacy is the Ace in the hole here. It has been tried. It is failing. This is something the West may not get a second chance at if we BELIEVE in the system we have pursued. To reason with terrorists.
    Let’s not wait and assume the last possible dates… our intelligence has been wrong before and Iran has had plenty of time to comply. Be Strong and Courageous West.


  • What a joke of a film.

    Unfortunately propaganda like this is still being produced.

    If you want to understand what is going on in Iran, look to the streets there.

  • Well, if this doesn’t get their attention, and at the State Department & White House, something very stupid is going on in Washington! People are tired of the stealth Jihad here, and the failure of Congress to address the threat. And the White House refuses to address it! WE THE PEOPLE will not stop in our pursuit to turn around our own government until they fall in line with the PEOPLES wishes! You can count on it! I hope you all do some serious thinking in D.C.!

  • I suppose James Wilson also thinks the Ft. Hood shooting, the underwear bomber, 9/11 and all the other successful and unsuccessful attempts are jokes as well .

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