Filmmaker sees lessons in Iranian history (1953 coup)

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Iranian artist Shirin Neshat plans to shoot a film about the United States overthrowing a democratically-elected government in Iran to gain control of the nation's vast oil supplies.

Ripped from today's headlines? Not quite.

The project is not based on the West's ongoing standoff over Tehran's nuclear program but rather on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's first overthrow of a foreign government, 53 years ago.

But while the movie is set in the past, Neshat hopes it will reverberate in the present, showing Westerners how their role in history is partly responsible for the current state of affairs.

"I am drawn to this project because I feel so strongly about the need for Westerners to look back in history," she said in an interview with Reuters.

"Most Westerners have amnesia beyond the Islamic revolution. They have very little concept of the foundation of the problems that we have between Islam and America, and Islam and the West."

The movie is set in 1953, the year U.S. and British intelligence services overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh over the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., which eventually became part of BP.

The coup strengthened the position of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran until the Islamic revolution of 1979.

"Iran was the first coup d'etat, then Guatemala, Congo and Chile," she said."When the Iranians attacked the U.S. embassy (in the 1979 revolution), Americans were at a loss where the anger came from," Neshat said."If they only understood the history behind that."

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