General Mohammad Reza Nagdi, commander of Iran’s Basij forces, gave the “Wet Gunpowder” award on Saturday to first lady Michelle Obama for her role in presenting the Best Picture Oscar to the film “Argo” at last year’s Academy Awards. The award is given to “someone who is against the Islamic Revolution” and who “against their own wishes, performs a service to the Iranian revolution.”
General Nagdi said that “if we spent billions to show the truth about the Oscars to the world we wouldn’t be able to do it, but this action from Obama’s spouse showed the truth about the Oscar awards to the world.” Many Iranian political figures believe that the American movie “Argo” is an anti-Iranian movie and feel that Michelle Obama’s presence via satellite to award it Best Picture was an indication of the White House’s influence over Hollywood. Nagdi added that “God showed America’s hand, and a film that is cheap, without content and inartistic that they picked for an Oscar award caused them disgrace.”
Iran’s English-language Press TV said that the first lady was officially invited to attend the ceremony, which took place in the southwestern city of Shalamcheh, Iran. The award will be handed over the US Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. The statue of the award is that of brain with dark glasses and hearing aids with a plaque of the Quranic verse: “Unwilling to hear, unwilling to speak, unwilling to see, then, they will not return to the way.”
Khamenei’s Lawyer Passes Away
Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyed Javadi, one of the founding members of the Freedom Movement of Iran, died at the age of 96 on March 31 in Tehran. Under the Shah’s regime, Haj Seyed Javadi, a lawyer, represented many individuals who later became prominent figures in the Islamic Republic. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Islamic scholar and revolutionary thinker Ali Shariati, and Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri were just a few of his clients.
After the 1979 revolution Haj Seyed Javadi served as interior minister under Mehdi Bazargan’s interim government until Bazargan’s early resignation. In the last three decades, he was arrested and tried several times for his criticism of the government.
In the last few years, Haj Seyyed Javadi had taken to writing letters to Khamenei. In January of 2012 he wrote that he held Khamenei “religiously and legally” responsible for the state of the country and he criticized Khamenei for his support of Ahmadinejad. Many of the important aspects of the letter were translated into English by Muhammad Sahimi. In February of 2012 Haj Seyed Javadi wrote a letter to the people of Iran in which he “apologized” as “an individual who played a role in the founding of the government” and for the direction the revolution had taken.
Iranian media has largely ignored Haj Seyed Javadi’s death, although some websites covered his funeral procession. Opposition website Kaleme, which is close to Mir Hussein Mousavi, published a letter of condolence signed by 37 prominent political prisoners, including Abolfazl Ghadyiani and Mostafa Tajzadeh. BBC Persian has also wrote several thorough retrospectives on Haj Seyed Javadi’s extraordinary life.