The Free Thinking Film Society of Ottawa, which shows films with a “healthy and patriotic respect for Western culture and traditions,” had planned on showing Iranium to an audience at the Canadian National Archives on Tuesday evening followed by a special appearance by Middle East expert Clare Lopez, who appears in the film. Iranium addresses the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran and is scheduled to premier on February 8. However, the Iranian embassy sent an official request to cancel the screening over the weekend, and the Archives received numerous complaints and threats.
The Archives also received two suspicious letters Tuesday afternoon connected to the event, prompting officials to shut down the entire building. A hazardous materials team responded to the incident, and concluded that the letters were safe. Officials determined that complaints and threats accompanying the Iranian request posed too serious a security threat, and the National Archives decided to cancel the event.
“I’m outraged that in the capital of Canada the Iranians have been able to shut down a movie,” said the film society's president, Fred Litwin. “Bad enough in Tehran, but in Ottawa?”
The Iranian embassy has not responded to attempts to contact them.
“That the mere prospect that this film, which is a factual review of the threat to international stability from the Iranian regime's nuclear weapons program, should prompt such a fearful response from Tehran, I think, is testimony to the vulnerable status of the mullahs' regime,” Ms. Lopez told The US Report. “That regime knows it is going to be held to account by its own people, whose aspirations for liberty will not be denied.”
Canada's Heritage Minister James Moore and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney both voiced their disapproval of the decision to cancel the event, and Mr. Moore ordered the event to go ahead, albeit with appropriate security measures.
“Canada does not accept attempts from the Iranian Embassy to dictate what films will, and will not be shown in Canada,” a statement from Mr. Moore's office read.
Lopez applauded the minister's decision and says she will attend the event when it is rescheduled.
Iranium will be aired online February 8, 2011 and viewers should be able to watch if they reside in a country where censorship is not practiced.
(Filed by Chris Carter; Jan. 20, 2011)