Iranians denounce hit movie '300'

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A Hollywood film depicting a battle between the Persian empire and a Greek army was denounced by Iran yesterday as "hostile" and an example of "cultural and psychological warfare".

The film, 300, about the battle of Thermopylae in 480BC, has made about $70 million in America in its first three days of release. It was attacked for its depiction of Persians as ruthless but dumb imperialists, who were repeatedly outsmarted by a smaller "western" force. The Persian king, Xerxes, was shown as effeminate.

Four MPs urged the Iranian foreign minister, and the Islamic guidance minister, to ask other Muslim countries not to show the film, the official ISNA news agency said.

A government spokesman branded it an insult against Iran, where the first Persian empire emerged to become the world's most powerful in the sixth century BC.

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