Iranians Trapped by Travel Ban Plan to “‘Argo’ This Shit”

Written by: Chris Jin

Despite their best efforts, the 27 people operating boom mic number seven were consistently louder than the person they were mic-ing.
Photo by: Jessica Ma

President Trump’s January 27 executive order, which barred entry into the US for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations, including Iran, has already caused a wide range of problems for Iranian nationals who work or study in the US. Iranian workers and students visiting family in Iran at the time of the travel ban will be unable to return to their businesses or universities, and those who had not left yet are now effectively trapped in the US, as leaving the country becomes tantamount to sacrificing their jobs or studies.

This difficult situation has led a group of Iranians to develop a daring new system to covertly transport Iranian citizens between the US and Iran, using the movie “Argo” as inspiration.

The alleged mastermind of the plot, an Iranian-American university student named Antonid Mendezani, has already outlined some of the plan’s central details.

“So the basics are simple; you probably already know what I’m going to say if you’ve seen ‘Argo’ before,” explained Mendezani. “You’ve got people in Iran who really want to go back to the U.S., but they can’t because some crazy ideologue doesn’t want them to.

“So, obviously,” he continued, “the clear course of action is to round up some Canadians and pretend you’re using the streets of Tehran as the exotic alien world of some new sci-fi flick that you think is gonna be an A-movie blockbuster but we all know it’ll turn out a B-movie.”

Every traveler using this system will be subjected to the same process: a Canadian filmmaker will travel to Iran, come into contact with their contracted group, and pretend the group is their Iranian-Canadian film crew before boarding a flight to the US. Prospective travelers have been advised to purchase clothing from local tourist traps in order to appear as authentically non-native Iranian as possible.

Mendezani is already reportedly in contact with numerous Canadian filmmakers, who have all agreed to remain anonymous or use pseudonyms to protect their individual operations. Many filmmakers collaborating with Mendezani plan to use fake projects as covers for the smuggling operations, similar to “Argo,” but others see this as an opportunity to advance their own real film projects.

An indie director using the pseudonym Behnem Affleckavi explicitly expressed such intent, justifying it by saying that they “can put the experience on [their] resume” and that “this isn’t a humanitarian effort — it’s art.”

“Well, first of all, we were originally going to use an American film crew as a cover, y’know, to cut out the middleman,” said Mendezani, reflecting on some of the difficulties in bringing the complicated plan together.

“But then the Iranian government banned US citizens from coming to Iran, so we decided to use Canadians instead, since Canadians are a lot like Americans, except no one has any good reason to hate a Canadian. Like, Ayatollah Khomeini would’ve never even thought of chanting ‘Death to Canada.’

“At one point early on, we also just considered simply changing the ‘Iranian’ on Iranian passports to ‘Persian,’” continued Mendezani. “But we realized that FAA officials are actually qualified for their positions and know how words work, unlike Trump.”

Though this smuggling network is currently limited to Iran, Mendezani has indicated he intends to expand operations to the other six countries affected by Trump’s executive order, and potentially to any other country in the future “that Trump deems ‘too spicy’ for his ‘great’ America.”

“I hope we’ll have continued success in finding people around the world to help with our resistance against ridiculous policy like this,” Mendezani later commented. “Nothing would make me happier than giving Trump a gigantic global ‘Argo’-fuck-yourself.”

Content Dad at The MQ

Chris Jin is a fourth year at UCSD

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