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The Israeli Version of ‘Argo’ Is Even Better

The unbelievable story of Israel’s last military diplomat in Iran

Adam Chandler
February 25, 2013
(Warner Brothers)
(Warner Brothers)

If you saw this year’s Best Picture-winning film Argo you might have appreciated how real and intense the film made the plight of six American diplomats trapped in Tehran seem.

In an (excellent) interview with Fresh Air, director/actor Ben Affleck let it slip that, without extensive information on the minute-by-minute happenings of the operation, the film had taken some creative liberties with the story. If you’re looking for the real thing, I’d recommend this story about Brig. Gen. Itzhak Segev’s mission to get 32 Israelis, who were in Tehran as the revolution began, out of the country.

In between frantic phone calls to the Israel Defense Forces headquarters and the Foreign Ministry in Israel, he browsed his address book in the hope of exploiting his myriad contacts with the country’s most influential people.

“I phoned air force Cmdr. [Amir Hossain] Rabii, a very good friend of mine, and told him: You have 2,000 aircraft. Give me one. But he said the ayatollahs now controlled all the air bases. ‘If you find a way out, let me know and I’ll join you.’ I put the phone down and called Gen. [Manuchehr] Khosrodad, the commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, who had been my guest in Israel a few times. But he told me that the airborne division he commanded had been taken away from him,” Segev recounts.

“A few days later he called me and said: I found a helicopter and I plan to flee to Saudi Arabia. I’ve got an extra seat; you’re welcome to come with me. I refused because I couldn’t leave the others behind. But while I was on the phone to him, I saw a breaking news report on TV saying that Gen. Khosrodad was about to leave the country and should be brought before the Revolutionary Council. That night I saw his execution live on TV.”

Check out the rest here. According to the story, Nextbook author David Mamet has taken interest in the story, but nothing has come of it yet.

Just saying, I would definitely see that.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.