You won't find the following in The Nation:
Iranian actor Massoud Razi, the youngest member of the famous Razi brothers, is no longer playing Jamshid Darvishi's sidekick in comedy masterpieces like "Hide the Falafel". He has a much more serious calling these days.
Razi became a fundamentalist islamist after the invasion of Iraq, and now is the star of Operation Ali (OA), an islamist entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the Iranian military. As an official arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Army's Iran Supports You program, OA plans to mail copies of the controversial video game, Submit or Die: Road to Paradise to soldiers serving on the border with Iraq.
The Islamic Revolutionary Army's Mullah's Office, which oversees OA's activities, has not responded to calls seeking comment.
But behind OA's anodyne promises of wholesome fun for military families, the organization promotes an radical brand of fundamentalist Islam to active duty Iranian soldiers serving on the border with Iraq. Displayed prominently on the "What We Believe" section of OA's website is a passage from the Qur'an (Al-Qur'an 2:23-24) that has become the bedrock of the Islamist right's conversion theology: "And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed From time to time to Our Servant, then produce a Surrah Like thereunto; And call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, If your (doubts) are true. But if ye cannot--And of a surely you cannot. Then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones Which is prepared for those who reject Faith."
With the endorsement of the Islamic Revolutionary Army, OA is mailing "Freedom Packages" to soldiers serving on the border with Iraq. These are not your grandfather's care packages, however. Besides pairs of white socks and boxes of baby wipes, OA's care packages contain the controversial Submit or Die: Road to Paradise videogame...
The videogame is a real-time strategy game that makes players commanders of a virtual Islamist army in a landscape that looks strikingly like New York City. With tanks, helicopters and a fearsome arsenal of automatic weapons at their disposal, Submit or Die players wage a violent war against American soldiers who, according to President Ahmadinejad's interpretation of Surrah 2, Al-Qur'an, represent the armies of the infidels. Each time a Submit or Die player kills an American soldier, their virtual character exclaims, "Praise Allah!" To win the game, players must kill or convert all the non-believers. (Video preview here).
OA has cultivated support from the Islamic Revolutionary Army for years. After a private October, 2005 meeting between OA's Naseri and Islamic Revolutionary Army officials, OA was invited to perform inside Revolutionary Command. This week, Revolutionary Command employees and active duty service members are expected to enjoy a breakfast with Naseri and Razi, followed by an OA performance in which they will receive "spiritual encouragement via an Islamic message."