At the end of Argo, right after the supposed film team is allowed to board their plane, Iranian soldiers storm the house of the Canadian ambassador. They find a desolated home and what I think to be a destroyed phone, or rather something like an advanced phone with a kind of encryption device, or whatever this is called. But immediately after they see this they frantically run out and try to phone the people at the airport and then hurriedly run to the airport guards, as if they had realized what was going on.

Yet I'm not sure what conclusions they drew from this and why they realized something bad was going on. All they saw was such a destroyed phone-thingy, which I would guess every ambassador would have (Mendez definitely didn't bring it with him) and that the ambassador was gone, which I'm not sure was such a bad or unexpected event for them, he wasn't an enemy of Iran at all. How did they realize that there were other people there or that those were something else than what they reported, and that they should immediately head for the airport?

Did they just do this out of security and didn't really know what to look for (but what made them so suspicious then)? Or did the filmmakers maybe leap over some deductions in order to raise the tension? Or am I just dumber or more naive than the Iranian military and overlooked something in the story?

1 Answer 1


If I remember correctly there was a destroyed photo of "one of the six" that was reconstructed in a sweatshop. This was the vital clue. Once it was reconstructed, it was discovered that it was someone from the Canadian Film crew. At this point their (the Americans) cover had been blown. If they (the Iranian Army) sent the photo and details to the third checkpoint at the airport here, the Canadian Caper would have ended in capture at the gate. However, since the cultural attaché knew they were staying at the Canadian Embassy (or Ambassadors house?) that became the point of focus. When the embassy was stormed, and the Canadian film crew was not found, the army would then check all exit ports in and out of the city. The only one that matters to the film is the airport, so it is the only one shown.

For dramatic purposes the escape and the hunt happened simultaneously. I don't think the actual timeline was this close. I think the Iranian Army was a day late, if they were even aware of the ruse.

  • Ah, so that was the reason why they stormed the ambassador's house in the first place, sounds reasonable. I already wondered why the clue with the reconstructed photos wasn't developed further, but I just must have missed this connection.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 9:18
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    I don't think the actual timeline was this close. I think the Iranian Army was a day late, if they were even aware of the ruse. ... I believe you are right. For theatrical effect and movie climax, they made this part of the movie appear to be a little closer to discovery than it actually was. The rest of the movie was fairly spot on, but I don't blame them for making the end like it was. The movie shows the heroism of Tony Mendez, which can not be understated, IMHO. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 12:35
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    @BenPlont No fear, if there's anyone you could be sure values acceptance very high, it's me (as evident from my profile). But still thanks for the reminder, better one too many reminders about his than too few. In fact I already wanted to accept, but happen to still have lying the rented DVD around, so will maybe recheck this tonight. And nothing wrong with leaving a question open for at least some period of time to maybe garner some additional insights (which the chance is much higher for when the question is still "open"). Rest assured that I have certainly not forgotten you. ;)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:40
  • @BenPlont And by the way, "liking" an answer isn't enough for acceptance, that's what up-voting is for, it's seeing it as the correct solution that is required. But nevermind, I understand what you mean. ;)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:43
  • sorry, poor choice of words. By 'like' I meant 'contains the information you were looking for'.
    – Ben Plont
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:55

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