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Iran Expresses Discontent Over Movie Portrayal of Khomeini

June 19, 1990

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ Iran has asked Turkey to halt screenings of an American movie that mocks the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a government official said today.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Iran made the request through diplomatic channels on Saturday, a day after five movie theaters in Istanbul and one in Ankara began showing ″The Naked Gun.″

The official said the government was considering the matter and would see whether it was possible to edit out the brief segment lampooning Khomeini.

The Iranian News Agency IRNA reported that the Turkish charge d’affaires in Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry today and informed of Iran’s unhappiness with the film.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Bozer is scheduled to pay an official visit to Iran on June 25. The Turkish official said his country did not want the film to harm relations with Iran.

Turkey is a predominantly Moslem country but has secular laws.

Different interpretations of Islam’s role in public life has caused strains between Turkey and neighboring Iran in the past.

″The Naked Gun,″ directed by David Zucker, is a spoof and stars Leslie Nielsen as an incompetent detective, Lt. Frank Drebin.

In one scene, Drebin punches a character that looks like Khomeini and reveals a spiked punk hairdo under his turban.

Others portrayed in the 1988 film include Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and former Ugandan president Idi Amin.

Spokesmen for the five theaters showing ″The Naked Gun″ in Istanbul said they had received anonymous phone calls threatening attacks against the cinemas.

Operators of three theaters said they edited out the parts about Khomeini after receiving bomb threats. The two others were still running the film intact.

Salih Karakus, director of the Atlantik theater, said he planned to show the movie at least another three weeks. ″It is doing such a good business,″ he said.

A spokesman for Metropol Theater in Ankara said no threats had been made and that the movie would continue to be be shown in its original form. ″We are against any kind of censorship,″ he said.

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