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Kiwi diplomat's diary reveals Argo rescue truth

Published: 7:36PM Thursday April 04, 2013 Source: ONE News

A personal diary has revealed new details of the danger Kiwi diplomats faced as they helped to save the American hostages portrayed in the film Argo.

The Oscar-winning film has been slated in Parliament for claiming New Zealand refused to help six Americans to escape from Tehran during the Iranian revolution in 1979.

However, the diary of late New Zealand diplomat Richard Sewell has revealed the truth behind the courageous role New Zealand diplomats played.

The diary, which has been donated to the National Library in Wellington, reveals the hair-raising moment the diplomats drove hostages to Tehran Airport.

"I thought briefly of the consequences for me and Chris and the others. Undoubtedly we would all suffer. We drove the rest of the way in silence," wrote Sewell.

The moment is ignored in Argo.

Alexander Turnbull library chief librarian Chris Szekely said the notebook clearly outlines New Zealand's involvement.

"Like a lot of other New Zealanders, my ears pricked up in the movie when they said the Kiwis won't help yet here we have a notebook that states very clearly the Kiwis did help," he said.

Last month, MPs voted unanimously to support a motion from New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters that condemned the way New Zealand is portrayed in Oscar-winning film Argo.

Peters called it a "grave misrepresentation" of the courageous and commendable role of New Zealand diplomats.

"I move that this house acknowledge with gratitude the efforts of former New Zealand diplomats Chris Beeby and Richard Sewell," Peters said.

"Our courageous New Zealand diplomats' inspirational actions were of significant help to the American hostages and deserve the historic and factual record to be corrected."

A source told ONE News there are concerns the content of Richard Sewell's diary could cause upset in Iran.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has informed its embassy in Tehran that the diary was being donated.

The diary was donated by Sewell's partner Grant Allen.