TEHRAN – The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has produced a series called “Gando”, which unfolds the true story of the major espionage case of Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American journalist who served as Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post.
The last part of the 30-episode docudrama directed by Javad Afshar was aired Monday on IRIB Channel 3.
Rezaian is introduced in the series by an intelligence agent, played by Dariush Farhang, as “one of the CIA’s top spies of the 21st century who can sabotage Iran’s economy and politics by thwarting the country’s efforts to annul Western sanctions.”
In one of the scenes, Payam Dehkordi who stars as Rezaian also introduces himself as “a soft warfare general.”
Rezaian was arrested in Iran in July 2014 and was convicted of espionage in a trial in 2015. On January 16, 2016, he and three other U.S. citizens were released in exchange for the release of seven Iranians who were accused or convicted of sanctions violations.
The series faced some criticism from Iran’s Foreign Ministry, which has been portrayed as an uninformed, neutral and westernophile organization in the series.
“What is portrayed about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my colleagues is not firmly based on reality,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said during a press conference on Monday.
“All the documents about the ministry’s talks and correspondence on this case are available, and if they had asked, we would have given them the documents to help the series seem much more realistic,” he added.
Writer Arash Qaderi contradicted Mousavi’s remarks on Tuesday during a press conference attended by director Afshar, producer Mojtaba Amini and several members of the crew.
“The story of Jason’s case is exactly based on reality,” he noted.
“We had the actual file on the case and we remained loyal to it, however, we did not intend to make a documentary,” he added.
On his part, Afshar said, “A collection of documents were given to the writer for use as a basis for the screenplay, but the writer had to dramatize the information extracted from the documents.”
Producer Amini also announced his plan to make sequel to “Gando” and added, “Certain persons should make adjustments in their functional roles to avoid being the subject of ‘Gando’.”
“We received many kind and friendly messages and calls from people that gave us energy, and many of them wanted to know what will happen in the next season,” he noted.
Dehkordi said, “Our people are thirsty for honesty, and every series that is fair in its message can foil dishonest persons.”
Over 140 actors have collaborated in “Gando”, which was shot on location in Iran, Turkey and China. A number of Chinese and Turkish actors also played roles in the series that was produced under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a number of other Iranian military organizations.
Photo: Producer Mojtaba Amini (L) and director Javad Afshar attend a press conference in Tehran on July 9, 2019 to brief the media about the docudrama “Gando” on the espionage case of Jason Rezaian. (Fars/Mohsen Atai)
Source; tehrantimes News Agency