Sean Stone, son of famous director Oliver and a budding filmmaker himself, recently arrived at the Toronto Film Festival from Tehran, where he was launching a production company to make movies based in Iranian history and culture. Well-known for such films as Platoon, Wall Street, Natural Born Killers, and World Trade Center, Sean’s father is also notorious for befriending such standard bearers of anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism as Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. In an exclusive interview with the entertainment industry website The Wrap, Sean Stone proved that the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Carrying on his father’s legacy of excusing totalitarians, Stone the Younger defended the Iranian President, apocalyptic madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and supported Iran’s right to arm itself with the ultimate weapon. “Israel has nuclear weapons, Iran has the right to them,” he pointed out. “Every nation has the right to self determination for defense.” Defense? Against threats from Israel? Sean has it exactly backwards. The theocratic regime in Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of international terrorism, has been racing to acquire the nuclear weapons that will dangerously alter the balance of power in the Middle East and put Iran in a position to wipe Israel from the map, as Ahmadinejad has pledged to do so many times.
Or has he? Stone claims that Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier who suggests that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. and Israel, and that World Wars I and II were started by Zionists, is merely “misunderstood”:
He did come to America to extend a hand. And there’s a lot of mistranslation, literally, I’ve seen it. Ahmadinejad will say something and it will be mistranslated. A lot of this is bullshit, mistranslation. It’s an aggressive attitude on both parts, mostly on the American side.
America is the real aggressor, and genocidal dictators are just misunderstood. Father Oliver couldn’t have said it better.
Sean Stone, who wants to make films in Iran because “I’m very international-minded,” bristled at criticism of the Iranian regime. It’s “like someone coming to your house and saying the father shouldn’t hit the kids. Who are we to tell them how to rule their country?” A closer analogy would be if the father were not only hitting his own kids, but killing the more rebellious ones and then running all over the neighborhood killing other people’s kids as well, especially the Jewish ones. In which case one would be well within one’s rights to tell him he shouldn’t, and then to force him to stop if he persists.
But “Iran is ruled by law,” Stone protests in the interview. Indeed it is – sharia law. The Iranian morality police patrol the streets enforcing Islamic modesty on anyone sporting Western-style haircuts or dress. Adulterers are stoned there. Gays – even teenagers – are hanged – enabling Ahmadinejad to claim this about homosexuality: “In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon.” But perhaps sharia, like Ahmadinejad, is just misunderstood. And hey, who are we to tell the mullahs how to rule their country?
When the Iranian people themselves tried to have a say in how their country was being run, during the Green Revolution of 2009, the regime brutally suppressed them, killing its own people and raping imprisoned protesters. Sean Stone’s take on this? “People don’t like Ahmadinejad, but that doesn’t warrant a war or an uprising.” He urges patience instead:
Time evolves everything. Time will bring revolution. Iran will change, but never by military force or being pushed.
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