Espionage thriller Tehran sneaks toward Apple TV+

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Tehran is reportedly headed for Apple TV+.
Tehran is a spy thriller starring Israeli actress Niv Sultan.
Photo: Apple

Apple has reportedly picked up international broadcasting rights for Tehran, a spy drama about a young Israeli agent trying to destroy an Iranian nuclear reactor.

The eight-episode Israeli series, created and written by Moshe Zonder (Netflix’s Fauda), could be coming to Apple TV+ very soon.


Tehran is distributed by Cineflix Rights, which says the action centers on Tamar Rabinyan, a young Mossad hacker-agent on a mission to neutralize Iranian radar so a nuclear reactor can be bombed. But she fails, and must hide out with young opponents of the Iranian regime. Living in the underground, she falls in love with a pro-democracy activist. But she never gives up on her mission.

The show stars Israeli actress Niv Sultan as Tamar. Her nemesis, Iranian security officer Faraz Mehmet, is played by veteran actor Shaun Toub, who appeared in Homeland, Iron Man and Crash.

A spy more realistic than James Bond

Tehran sounds like it could be ripped from current events in the tense Middle East.

“The real story is what happens to a Mossad agent who goes rogue in Tehran,” Alon Aranya, the show’s executive producer, told The Hollywood Reporter. “And you’re in for a what-if fun ride. It may be happening right now and we wouldn’t know.”

The show, shot in Hebrew and Farsi (with English subtitles), also features plenty of handheld camera work to give it an edgy, modern feel. But Tehran director Danny Syrkin said he wanted to paint Iranians in a positive and realistic light, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

“Even as he leans into TV spy-thriller tropes for thrills and spills, he felt an obligation to his show’s cast to portray Iranians as human and multidimensional for empathy and identification. ‘They all love Iran, and they don’t want to piss off the Iranians — not the Iranian regime. They love the Iranian people,’ Syrkin says of his Farsi-speaking cast…

‘We didn’t want Iran to be a scary place. We want it to be a warm place that lures you in, something that reminds you of your mother, your childhood.'”

When will Tehran come to Apple TV+?

Deadline and Variety both report that the series is headed for Apple TV+. When the spy drama will debut on Cupertino’s streaming service remains unknown, but it could help fill in for shows Apple can’t film now due to production shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a limited catalog of original shows, Apple TV+ trails market leaders Netflix and Amazon Prime Video by a wide margin. The streaming service also faces intense competition from newcomers like Disney+ and HBO Max.

Still, Apple TV+ continues to roll out new originals even as execs snap up rights to older shows like Fraggle Rock to broaden the offering.

Apple TV+ costs $4.99 a month. However, Cupertino includes a one-year free subscription with the purchase of many Apple devices.