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                                        Volume. 11930

Filmmaker to chronicle 1998 Iranian diplomats’ murder in Mazar-i-Sharif
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A number of Afghan extras wait on location in Karaj on February 22, 2014 before a shoot of the film “Mazar-i-Sharif”.
A number of Afghan extras wait on location in Karaj on February 22, 2014 before a shoot of the film “Mazar-i-Sharif”.
TEHRAN -- The Iranian director Abdolhassan Barzideh, mostly known for his movies on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, has focused on the infamous story of the murder of Iranian diplomats and a journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998, in his new project entitled “Mazar-i-Sharif”.
 
The story refers to the siege of the Iranian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif during the capture of the northern Afghan city by Taliban forces on August 8, 1998.
 
Ten Iranian diplomats and a journalist were killed by Sipah-e-Sahaba, a Pakistani Sunni group with close ties to the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. A diplomat named Allahdad Shahsavan narrowly escaped death. An Afghan family helped him reach Iran after 19 days of walking on a dangerous route.
 
An interview with Shahsavan inspired Barzideh to spotlight the subject in 1998. However, he was unable to realize his plan to make a movie about the story due to the political sensitivity of the issue.   
 
The shooting of the film began on Saturday on location in Karaj, a city about 40 kilometers west of Tehran, producer Manuchehr Shahsavari said in a press conference.
 
Hossein Yari plays the role of Shahsavan and Farhad Aslani plays the part of an Iranian intelligence agent in the movie. In addition, Ebrahim Barzideh plays the role of Mahmud Saremi, the correspondent for IRNA who was killed at the Iranian consulate.   
 
The cast and crew will move to Mazar-i-Sharif and a desert near the Iranian city of Kerman in the near future to take some scenes.
 
Over 1500 Afghans have been hired to act as extras in the project. They have been taught in an educational center, which was established by an Afghan migrant in Iran.
 
Barzideh has consulted Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkhan to avoid likely misunderstandings about the story.
 
“There were some sensitive questions, with which the Foreign Ministry dealt effectively and let the story go on its way,” Barzideh told the Persian service of ISNA on Sunday. 
 
MMS/YAW
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