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Gay NZ diplomat played "heroic" hostage role

Sun 31 Mar 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Richard Sewell Private notes made by a brave gay New Zealand diplomat have shed more light on the total inaccuracy of the way New Zealand's role in the 1979 Iran hostage drama has been portrayed in the movie Argo. The 2012 hit movie, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, controversially portrays New Zealand diplomats as refusing assistance to the American hostages who were trapped by violent revolutionaries. Richard Sewell, who died in 1998, wrote up the role he and his fellow Kiwis played in the Iran Hostage crisis but those private notes have only recently been discovered by his partner, food writer Grant Allen. In Sewell's recounting of the tense and dangerous operation much assistance was provided by New Zealand ambassador Chris Beeby. And it was Sewell who managed to spirit one of the trapped Americans, CIA operative Kevin Harkins, aka Tony Mendez and portrayed as the hero of the rescues by Affleck himself, through the darkened Tehran streets past armed roadblocks and gangs of trigger-happy revolutionaries to the airport and freedom. Allen has told the Herald On Sunday that other information which is unable to yet be discussed publicly, will show that Sewell "played a heroic role."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 31st March 2013 - 4:07pm

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