TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran on Monday launched a computer game with a strong political message that mixes the standoff over its nuclear programme, the mystery of missing diplomats in Lebanon and its hatred of Israel.
Players of the game “Special Operation 85: Hostage Rescue” play the part of a special agent battling to release captured Iranian diplomats and nuclear scientists from the clutches of his US and Israeli foes.
The game has been produced by the Union of the Islamic Students, which was behind the infamous “World Without Zionism” conference in 2005 where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped from the map”.
“In this game we are not promoting terrorism and violence. By freeing Iranian hostages we are promoting selflessness, devotion and defence of our country,” said the group’s secretary general Mohammad Taghi Fakhrian.
The eight-level game starts in Iraq, where a young married couple who are Iranian nuclear scientists have been captured by US forces while making a pilgrimage to the Shiite holy shrine in Karbala.
Enter Iranian special operations officer Bahman Nasseri, whose mission it is to save the couple, named Saeed and Maryam, who have now been spirited away to a prison in Iran’s arch-foe Israel.
He slips into Israel and locates their prison.
In a twist, here he finds locked away not only the young scientists but also four other Iranians who in real life have been missing since disappearing in northern Lebanon at the height of the civil war in 1982.
There has never been any official confirmation over the fate of three Iranian diplomats and one photographer. But Tehran believes they were handed over to Israel by Lebanese Christian forces and are still alive.
A successful player completes the eight levels by killing US and Israeli soldiers, stealing their laptops which hold secret information and finally liberating the scientists and the diplomats.
UPDATE: “We tried to promote the idea of defence, sacrifice and martyrdom in this game” — more information on the game from this Sydney Morning Herald article (thanks to Jay).