Iran's standing on the world stage, and in its relationship to the United States in particular, is the focus of the documentary Menace in Disguise, a searing and informative portrait of the single largest supporter of global terrorism.
The country has grabbed headlines in recent years for its consistent unpredictability, and for the US-led Iran nuclear deal which was drafted in 2015. That deal has proven controversial and inflammatory in several prominent circles. Current President Donald Trump calls it the worst deal he has ever witnessed. Others feel that it merely represents a brief reprieve from the inevitable, and question whether Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei can ultimately be trusted to adhere to its demands. The film offers a panel of experts, including former United Nations ambassadors and other foreign relations specialists, who provide a thought-provoking analysis of the deal's potential shortcomings.
The filmmakers insist that with or without a deal, Iran's desire to increase their nuclear capabilities is unquestionable, and creates a growing sense of instability in the Middle East and around the world. In many instances detailed in the film, the country has chosen to expand their sphere of influence by supporting the heinous actions of terrorist franchises such as Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. The film also explores the distressing phenomenon of ISIS, a scourge which has suspiciously left the country undisturbed during their ongoing reign of terror. Why has Iran been immune to the world's most prominent terrorist organization? In the words of one of the film's interview subjects, the country "has done a masterful job of exporting extremism, but they don't allow it at home."
Meanwhile, Iran continues to mount bold provocations against the United States, and critics claim they've been empowered to do so in the absence of meaningful retaliation. The film's recounting of the relationship between these two countries is one of its most intriguing points of interest. Heralded as the greatest of allies by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, they are now embroiled in an increasingly volatile exchange that could lead to catastrophic consequences for many regions of the world.
Menace in Disguise weaves a frightening and relevant narrative.