A love story set against the background of the Holocaust has become one of the most popular programs being shown on Iran’s flagship national channel. The 30 episode drama, Zero Degree Turn, depicts a half Iranian, half Palestinian boy who falls in love with a French girl in prewar France. The boy, Habib Paisa, falls in love with a Jewish French girl named Sarah Stuck and they become caught up in World War II events. Habib works at the Iranian embassy in Paris and uses his position to help safe Sarah and her family. The screenwriter was doing research about Iranian diplomats in the World War II era and stumbled upon countless stories of Iranians helping save thousands of Jews from death in the Holocaust. Iran’s president, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly claimed the Holocaust never happened, but, as the Arab Times notes, “Ahmadinejad’s stance on the Holocaust has rarely been repeated by top Iranian officials, and, on occasion, even flatly contradicted.” Over 24,000 Jews still live in Iran, have a Jewish MP in parliament and are guaranteed freedom of religion.
It is interesting that Zero Degree Turn is not discussed by the American media which is quick to seize upon every idiotic statement made by President Ahmadinejad. Few Americans are aware that Iranians saved Jews during the Holocaust. Perhaps, demonstrators who yelled and screamed against Iran during Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia University have something to add concerning this TV series and the performance of Iranian diplomats during the Holocaust.