Iranian president rejects Stone's biopic


TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected a proposal by Oscar-winning movie director Oliver Stone to make a film about him because Stone is part of the "Great Satan" cultural establishment, a semiofficial news agency reported.

"I sent a negative answer by Ahmadinejad to Oliver Stone," the Fars agency quoted Mehdi Kalhor, media adviser to the president, as saying Sunday. "It is right that this person is considered part of the opposition in the U.S., but opposition in the U.S. is a part of the Great Satan."

The term the "Great Satan" dates back to Iran's late supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who first called the U.S. that after the 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the country's U.S.-supported shah.

Stone's publicist in New York said the director had not been formally notified that his proposal to make a documentary about Ahmadinejad had been turned down. But in a statement released Monday, Stone said he wished the Iranian people well.

"I have been called a lot of things, but never a Great Satan," Stone said in the statement. "I wish the Iranian people well, and only hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours."

Kalhor said Stone sent his proposal more than a year ago, but Iran decided against allowing him to make the film.

"We believe that the American cinema industry lacks culture and art," Kalhor was quoted as saying by Fars, which is considered close to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

Stone, who won best director Oscars for his movies "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Platoon" and a screenwriting Oscar for "Midnight Express," has made movies about former U.S. Presidents Nixon and Kennedy and a documentary about Cuban President Fidel Castro.

He has been critical of President Bush. Last year in Spain, he said he was "ashamed" of his country over the war in Iraq and U.S. policies in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.