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Iran wanted films of the Irish struggle... we wanted to send them nature docs

A rep from Iranian TV wanted a video from Ireland for broadcasting.

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE IRISH EMBASSY in Iran was approached for a film of the “struggles” taking place in Ireland – but it was planned to send a nature film instead.

Newly released State Papers from 1984 tell the tale in a letter dated 6 July 1981, from diplomat Niall Holohan, Charges d’Affaires to Ireland.

Holohan said a representative of Iranian Television had requested from the embassy a film for broadcasting that related to “the struggles taking place in Ireland”, at a time when the Troubles were raging in Northern Ireland.

He told them that no films of any sort were held in the Embassy, “but that I might be able to obtain copies of films of a tourist/cultural nature”.

Continued Holohan:

I should perhaps mention that Northern Ireland and the IRA hunger-strikers are very much in the news here and it might be no harm if a film portraying the more attractive aspects of Ireland were to be broadcast on television.

But he noted that “tourism per se is officially frowned on here and since, in addition, foreign languages have been almost entirely removed from broadcasting, it is difficult to think of any film in the Department’s collection which might be acceptable in this country”.

The one exception? “[P]erhaps the nature-film Oisin.”

Holohan asked if this or any other film might be “appropriately offered to the Iranians”.

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The documents didn’t reveal what film was in fact given, if one was given at all.

National Archives 2014/32/2040

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