The meeting between the Leader of the Islamic Republic and the prime minister of Japan on June 13, 2019 had two significances. First it broke the traditional censorship on what the Leader has been saying for over three decades .The prime minister obviously was carrying a message from the US president and it had to be heard by the Leader. Here the voice and the answer were much different than what the Iranian president or foreign minister would say and much more dynamic.

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Jesus sat and peeled an orange as his companion, Nader Talebzadeh, began to speak, precisely, so as not to be misunderstood on a matter so sensitive. The Iranian director’s new film is based on the Islamic version of the life of Jesus, depicting the man Christians believe to be the messiah and son of God as a tormented Judean prophet foretelling the coming of Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim faith.

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Stone made the remarks in a live interview with Nader Talebzadeh on Iran-based TV channel 4 which was held on the sidelines of the 36th edition Fajr international film festival which will be underway until April 27 in Tehran.

He referred to Vietnam and said all the soldiers returned from the war brought nothing but sorrow and grief, adding that US had no chance to win that war because it was the US who occupied their country.

‘We had a superficial government supporting the war which had no benefit to our country. It just led to disastrous results and I can say it was the worst war the US could be involved in,’ Director of JFK said.

‘We have always been involved in wars in the Middle East from Iraq to Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and now Iran which has never been off the map. It has always been a target and still is a big target and original plan. We are dealing with the issue of Afghanistan for more than 18 years. Why ?’ said Stone.

‘America combined with the ISIS and Israel aims to destroy Middle East and make it a parking lot for America; to make it over and I think it is a very destructive plan and it is a tragedy,’ American director stated.

‘Americans have always been involved in war in different countries, but have never got any lesson from the disastrous results and still plan to start other wars, ‘He added.

‘I got tired of working drama and wanted to work on documentaries as it shows the reality,’ he said as referring to his documentaries.

‘I think it makes no difference who the president of the US is. When Obama came, we were hopeful that situation would get better, but nothing changed and now Mr. Trump is here and the same stories are going on again. This octopus will continue its path again and again. Iran is the main target for the US so it will not leave Syria until it gets access to Iran which is a rich country geopolitically. Iran is the key to the Middle East. The US aims to show Iran as a terrorist but it has no proof,’ American well-known writer stated in his live interview with Nader Talebzadeh.

As to his presence in Iran Fajr international film festival, Stone said, ‘I came to Iran to watch films and I have watched 5 films so far from everywhere.’

He said he would watch as many films as possible during his stay in Iran capital city, Tehran.

Stone hosted a workshop for filmmakers at Tehran University for the students craving to learn more and benefit from the knowledge and experiences of the prominent individuals.

The US inspirational filmmaker paid a visit to the festival venue and in his live interview with Nader Talebzadeh on Iran-based TV channel 4, said Iran is the center of Middle East for him.

Columbia University-trained filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh is Iran’s pre-eminent television talk show host. He isn’t really comparable with anything or anyone on American television. But you might say that his work is serious and sophisticated like Bill Moyers, yet reaches a bigger audience (proportional to the population) than Johnny Carson in his heyday. The fact that Nader’s show is watched by many millions speaks well of Iran’s level of education and culture. 

I have gotten to know Nader during my four trips to Iran, including the one last week for the Palestine Conference, and have appeared on his show many times. (Unlike Bill Moyers, Nader is unafraid of such controversial issues as 9/11 truth, false flags, political assassinations, and other matters pertaining to the Deep State.) Nader has lived extensively both in the US and Iran, and understands both societies, and their overlapping histories, well. If any US president were to ever decide to atone for past crimes and heal the American-Iranian relationship, the first person to consult would be Nader Talebzadeh.    Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor

They Planned and He Plans

by Nader Talebzadeh

The American enlightenment has started.  The dormancy of over three decades, and the miseries that the United States has put dozens of nations through, have begun to cease. The torment that the Vietnamese went through and the innocent lives that perished under US drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan are beginning to find their answers.  But not in international tribunals or world systems of justice. No. In people’s consciousness, the great divide in the American population is the first sure sign of a change to come.

Ever since the unwelcome appearance of Donald Trump on the US governmental scene, the first president not to be put in place by the deep state, the inquisition over what is going on has begun. Americans more than ever are perplexed about their future. Their past is vague and no matter how hard they peer into the rear view mirror, it doesn’t make sense.

9/11 doesn’t make sense.

The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t make sense.

The admittance to not finding any WMDs in Iraq and yet occupying it, doesn’t make sense.

To kill 500,000 children and the administrators saying the killing was worth it doesn’t make sense.

The cover-up for 9/11 doesn’t make sense.

To start a global war on terror and not explain how 9/11 occurred, or how a third building collapsed nine hours later, doesn’t make sense.

Obama’s sudden appearance on the scene, doesn’t make sense.

The hundreds of books and articles that question the mechanism of the selection of Obama, yet no discussion of them on the mainstream media, doesn’t make sense.

Obama placed in that position by the establishment, the deep state as they said, doesn’t make sense.

The blanked out middle-class of America, still pondering what happened, doesn’t make sense.

The fact that they lost their jobs beginning three decades ago, and having had to let go of their comfortable insured life working in an American factory, doesn’t make sense.

The abandoned factories and grand industries that once made America great, lying obsolete and deserted, doesn’t make sense.

Half of Detroit abandoned and deserted, doesn’t make sense.

The media cheering on its hallucinatory concussions all throughout these disasters, doesn’t make sense.

The PTSDed war veterans and the official suicide rates of US soldiers on and off duty, undetected and barely seen in the rear view mirror of the media, never make sense.

All the common man sees today is one man attacked by the same mass  media that pushed them into the illegal wars and illegitimate debts from zero to 20 trillion by some estimates (between 1979-2017). Zero in 1979 and almost 20 trillion in 2017.

But the “buck stops here” as President Eisenhower once famously said. The heavy train loaded with old rusted debris is coming to a screeching halt. Meanwhile the curious are looking wide-eyed. NATO doesn’t know where it really stands.  The think tanks of Washington – the hub of all mesmerizing strategies – are vacant or their curtains half drawn. The neocons are contemplating plan B. The Israeli “firsters” are caught off guard. They are desperately planning ahead. But whose ears do they have this time?! A man who calls the weapons of the think tanks, the mainstream media, “liars,” “fake news”!?

Once the invisible sword, the likes of New York Times and CNN are today exposed and blunted. Who dared call CNN “liars”?! CNN engaged America meticulously into two “fake” wars and indebted the United States and never got any blame. It was almost scripted and storyboarded like a Hollywood movie. Now, it is still loose, with acrobatic skills evading all detection like a skilled serial killer breathing in our civilized world.

The masquerade however is over. The Paul Wolfowitzs, the Richard Perles, the Daniel Pipes have to face the masses.

Now the eye- opening process has begun. Watch out for the six-packers and their evaporated illusions! You have finally awakened the slumbering slave of America, and awakened they are. Alas! All empires go through these stages.   The awkward moments must be tolerated i.e. the president without a cabinet, the supporters with semi-automatic weapons guarding his speeches in Georgia and Florida. The anti-Semitic accusations that are being discussed in the morning regular sessions on CNN. The angry obliterated Alan Dershowitz who is nervously accusing CNN’s moderator Don Lemon of giving the anti-Semites their fifteen-minute moment of fame. The fear that it will catch fire in the colleges and universities.

The masquerade however is over. The Paul Wolfowitzs, the Richard Perles, the Daniel Pipes have to face the masses. The not-so-innocent masses that succumbed to the beast’s demands also wait. The confrontation lingers silently.  No one even knows these people as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times once famously said in his interviews with the Haaretz. 25 neocons have planned and executed what has happened in the past two and a half decades.

The wakeup call has rung, the moment of illusion has disappeared. The apparent, sudden sun is beginning to shine gloriously, one ray at a time. Wash your face and watch the unfolding.

Nader Talebzadeh

2/3/2017

Tehran, Iran

TEHRAN — 

A man wrapped in a shawl stood at the door.

“This is Jesus,” said another man.

Jesus sat and peeled an orange as his companion, Nader Talebzadeh, began to speak, precisely, so as not to be misunderstood on a matter so sensitive. The Iranian director’s new film is based on the Islamic version of the life of Jesus, depicting the man Christians believe to be the messiah and son of God as a tormented Judean prophet foretelling the coming of Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim faith.

One might imagine such a tale may not screen well in the red states of America. The film, nearly 10 years in the making, draws on the Koran and the putative Gospel of Barnabas, considered by many Western scholars a medieval fable. The premise of “Jesus, the Spirit of God” is that Jesus was compassionate and performed miracles, but was not crucified or resurrected from the dead. The message implies that Christianity, a faith of 2 billion people and the core of much Western philosophy, is based on a falsehood.

“I pray for Christians. They’ve been misled. They will realize one day the true story,” said Talebzadeh, whose film has been screened at international film festivals and is being marketed for wider release.

“People might use this film as a strategy to further demonize Iran,” he said. “They may succeed. But I hope once you see that the focus of the film is sacred, it will overwhelm. No one would have imagined that an Iranian would make a film to glorify Jesus.”

Not to mention an Iranian who supports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and believes 9/11 was partly a U.S. government conspiracy. “Someone masterminded something,” he said. “And this is the cause for a lot of evil America is doing in this part of the world.”

There is another irony. The actor who plays Jesus, Ahmad Soleimani-Nia, once was a soldier in the Iranian army and later a welder for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, which the Bush administration accuses of pursuing nuclear weapons. Such footnotes don’t seem odd when talking with Talebzadeh, who has kept Nia in Jesus character — flowing hair, beard, mystic pose — for seven years because he never knows when he might shoot new sequences for the film.

“Jesus, the Spirit of God” comes out of Iran at a time of hostile rhetoric between Washington and Tehran and a divide between Islam and the West that has produced jihad websites, DVDs on the apocalypse, editorial cartoons lampooning Muhammad and a recent Osama bin Laden tape condemning Pope Benedict XVI for a “new crusade” against Islam.

Religion has long been at the heart of tensions between East and West, but it is being swept into a wider cultural war played out on the Internet, film and satellite TV in which icons and sacred texts have been attacked and manipulated. A new Dutch film by a right-wing politician, who compares the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” depicts Islam as a violent faith. In response, a Saudi blogger posted a video suggesting that the Bible could be read as a document for war.

Talebzadeh knows that his Jesus walks on volatile terrain; one wonders, given the tenor of the times, how many fatwas would be issued if a Western director made a film suggesting that Muhammad, whose depiction is forbidden under Islamic tradition, was someone other than the prophet.

“There is so much wrong with this man’s understanding of Jesus and Christianity,” wrote an incensed Christian blogger, referring to Talebzadeh in a conversation about the film that is unfolding in cyberspace. “It’s another piece of Satanic propaganda intended to accomplish no meaningful purpose in this world.”

The rough, choppily edited $5-million film, condensed from a 1,000-minute-long series that will soon air on Iranian TV, reveres Jesus as a blessed prophet speaking parables and moving through soft light and angelic chants amid a ruckus of zealots and conspiring Pharisees. The narrative and dialogue are attributed to Islamic teachings and Jesus’ disciple Barnabas, whose gospel the director said was hidden by church authorities so as not to undermine the established Christian faith.

Scholars believe that the gospel, not included in the canon of the early Catholic Church, was written by others centuries later and ascribed to Barnabas. It overlaps with the stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but it does not present Jesus as the son of God. Barnabas’ tale resonates with Muslims who believe that it supports the Koran’s teaching that Jesus, though born of a virgin, was not divine, but one of the last great prophets. Talebzadeh’s film shows Jesus ascending to heaven before Roman soldiers come for him; Judas, the disciple who betrays him, is transformed into the likeness of Jesus and crucified. According to Islamic traditions, Jesus is alive and will return to defeat evil.

“Barnabas is a missing link the world is not ready to accept. It’s a piece of literature we should look into,” said Talebzadeh, a man with a graying beard who sat in his office the other day before a bowl of fruit.

Draped in a shawl and legs crossed as if in meditation, Nia-as-Jesus lingered behind Talebzadeh looking very much like a 1970s rock star. He was quiet, serene, a former welder with a thespian calling drifting between the Koran and the New Testament. He had never acted before, but his light skin and angular features mixed with Middle East repose conjured an aura of Western aesthetics and Eastern spirituality.

“I’ve never been able to resolve why I am so drawn to Jesus,” said Nia, a Muslim born in the western mountains of Iran near Iraqi Kurdistan. “It goes back to when I was a boy of 7 or 8. I saw a painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ and I identified with Jesus. He has always been with me. In my neighborhood, with my long hair and beard, I am known as Jesus.”

Talebzadeh grew up in Iran under the reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. In 1970, he moved to the United States, where he says he studied at American University in Washington, D.C., and Columbia University in New York. He witnessed a convulsive American decade of antiwar protests over Vietnam and the resignation of Richard Nixon.

For much of that time, Iran was a U.S. ally. That changed in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led an Islamic revolution that toppled the shah and resulted in 52 Americans being held hostage for 444 days.

“I returned to Iran feeling there was a huge misunderstanding in the West about my country,” he said. “Iran was being demonized.”

Talebzadeh directed a number of documentaries on themes such as the Bosnian conflict and the Iran-Iraq war. In 1999, he began filming “Jesus, the Spirit of God,” which grew out of a passion that began decades earlier when he attended a school in Tehran with Christians and continued over his fascination with the purported writings of Barnabas.

“If there’s one thing in my life I wanted to do, this film is it,” said the director, whose Jesus movie won an interfaith dialogue award at the 2007 Religion Today Film Festival in Italy. “I didn’t say Jesus wasn’t crucified, God did. It’s in the Koran. . . . The film is made with faith. I tried to do it as beautifully as I could.”

He added that he hoped his 35-millimeter film would start a conversation between religions: “In the 21st century, the arts and the media have to create an area for more cordial discussions between faiths at a time when information is moving in the blink of an eye. . . . We should be joining people together, not giving distortion and misunderstanding. We have to say, ‘Have you looked at this door to know the truth about Jesus?’ ”

Some Americans have peeked through Talebzadeh’s door. He showed the movie to four audiences in the United States, and it was recently screened at the Philadelphia Film Festival. He said many people were open-minded and intrigued by the historical and religious questions it raised.

“The truth has a whole, different vibration to it,” he said. “If you enhance it with artistry, you can create a discussion.”

Not according to the website of the Worldwide Church of God in Fairfield, Calif.: “Attempts by the Iranians or anyone else who try to deny that Jesus Christ is the true messiah will ultimately fail. The Holy Bible confirms the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in numerous ways, and no amount of filmmaking or lecturing or rhetoric to the contrary can defeat that fact.”

Nia-as-Jesus finished his orange. Talebzadeh, whose office was warm in the afternoon sun, kept talking about the film, about divinity, about how to capture truth.

He turned in his chair toward Jesus, and was still, after all these years, amazed at the likeness, the highlighted hair, eyes of fervor. He joked that he had been searching for his lead character for a long time when his assistant director spotted Nia on the street one day and said, “I found your Jesus.”

Nia-as-Jesus liked this story, happenstance leading, as he sees it, to destiny.

TEHERAN, IRAN — Two years before Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ” drew filmgoers throughout the Mideast, Islamic documaker Nader Talebzadeh decided the time had come to tell the story of Jesus from the Muslim perspective.

A film teacher who studied cinema at Columbia U. in the 1970s and who once lived in Virginia, he was acquainted with what he calls Christian “Good News” ideas. He also had hosted debates on Iranian TV where Gibson’s popular movie was discussed, including its perceived anti-Semitism.

“I think Gibson’s film is very well made, and made with great belief,” Talebzadeh told Variety, “but it’s the wrong story.”

Thus was born “The Messiah” (or “Good Tidings of the Savior” in Farsi), a two-hour-plus feature film and a TV series shot for Iranian TV.

With over 1,000 actors and extras, it is one of the largest film productions ever attempted in Iran. It will air as 20 45-minute episodes after a theatrical version is released here.

Screened as a work-in-progress at the Fajr Film Festival, the film tells the story of Jesus’ birth and teachings using the Koran as its main source. Rather controversially, it follows traditional Western iconography in depicting Jesus with a light complexion and flowing chestnut hair, over objections that he should look “more Palestinian.”

Most foreign fest programmers quickly decided the film wasn’t for their audiences and left the screening before the end, when the story diverges from the Biblical version. Here Jesus, who is not the Son of God but the last prophet of Israel come to announce the prophet Muhammad, is saved from crucifixion by Allah and ascends to Heaven on the night of the Last Supper.

One of his disciples — in Talebzade’s personal reading, Judas Iscariot — is crucified in his place when his face is miraculously transformed into Jesus’ likeness.

In the film market, “The Messiah” excited much comment both pro and con and made several sales. South African distributor Habib Mackie of Tinsel Curtain Motion Pictures said he plans to open the film wide with as many prints as “The Passion of the Christ.”

“I hope it will be the occasion for dialogue between the faithful among Christians and the faithful among Muslims,” says Talebzadeh, who believes the film has a serious message for evangelical Christians.

“In my film Jesus is revered very highly and works even more miracles than in the Bible. We await his coming back to earth at the end of time, when faithful Christians and Muslims will fight side by side in a huge battle.”

He is anxious to see the North American reaction. “It’s more than a movie,” he insists, in an uncanny echo of Gibson. “I have a mission to project this information.”