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New documentary better than 'Argo': Ex-Canada PM

TORONTO -- A former Canadian prime minister says the real story of how a former Canadian ambassador protected Americans during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis is a “better story” than Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning picture “Argo.”

Joe Clark, Canada's prime minister in 1979, made the remarks at a screening Thursday of the documentary “Our Man in Tehran” at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Argo” came under criticism from some Canadians, including former ambassador Ken Taylor, who said he felt slighted by “Argo” because it makes Canada look like a meek observer to CIA heroics.

“I think the truth is the better story,” Clark said to applause.

Taylor kept the Americans hidden at his residence and at the home of his deputy, John Sheardown, in Tehran for three months and facilitated their escape by arranging plane tickets and persuading the Ottawa government to issue fake passports. He also agreed to go along with the CIA's film production cover story to get the Americans out of Iran.

Taylor became a hero in Canada and in the United States, where crowds celebrated with banners that proclaimed, “Thank you, Canada.”

One year after “Argo” premiered at the festival, Taylor has debuted his own account of the high-risk caper. He said the documentary offers “a very true” look at Canada's role in rescuing six U.S. citizens during the crisis.

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Former CIA operatives Jonna Mendez, left, and Tony Mendez talk about the movie “Argo” and his career as a spy, in Signal Mountain, Tennessee on Thursday, Sept. 12. Mendez is famous for rescuing six hostages during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980. (AP)

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