Saturday 24 June 2017

Iranian film director rules out attending Oscars after Trump travel ban

Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker and UTA client Asghar Farhadi
Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker and UTA client Asghar Farhadi

An Iranian director whose film is nominated for an Oscar has said he will not attend the ceremony even if he is granted permission to go despite US President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Asghar Farhadi's film The Salesman is up for best foreign language film at next month's ceremony in Los Angeles.

Mr Trump's decision to ban nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US had thrown into doubt whether the Iranian cast and crew could attend.

But Farhadi has now told The New York Times that although he had intended to attend the ceremony, "the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip".

The film-maker said : "I would therefore like to convey via this statement what I would have expressed to the press were I to travel to the United States.

"Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way.

"In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an 'us and them' mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of 'them' and inflict fear in the people of their own countries.

"This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same."

Farhadi said he believed "similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences".

He added: "To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity.

"I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations."

One of the stars of The Salesman, Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, said she would not attend the Oscars in protest over Mr Trump's immigration policies.

She tweeted: "Trump's visa ban for Iranians is racist.

"Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won't attend the Academy Awards 2017 in protest."

Organisers of the Oscars previously said it was "extremely troubling" that the makers of The Salesman could be barred from entering the US.

An Academy spokeswoman said: "As supporters of film-makers - and the human rights of all people - around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran, A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year's Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin."

Farhadi's film A Separation won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012.

Press Association

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