Iranian Oscar winner to boycott ceremony over 'unjust' US travel ban

Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi compared the Trump administration to Iranian hardliners as both use fear of outsiders "to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals".

By REUTERS
January 30, 2017 14:31
1 minute read.
Asghar Farhadi‏

Asghar Farhadi‏. (photo credit: VALERY HACHE / AFP)

DUBAI - Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi will boycott this year's ceremony in protest at US President Donald Trump's "unjust" ban on people from his country - Iran - and six others.

Announcing his decision, the director, who won the 2012 best foreign language film award for "A Separation" and is nominated again this year, compared the Trump administration to Iranian hardliners as both use the fear of outsiders "to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals".

"Hardliners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way," Farhadi said in a statement, published by the New York Times and some Iranian media.

"In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an 'us and them' ... This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same," he said, announcing he would not attend the Oscars even if he were given special permission to travel.

Taraneh Alidoosti, the female lead of Farhadi's "The Salesman", which is nominated for this year's foreign language Oscar, has already announced she would boycott the ceremony in protest at Trump's "racist" travel ban.

Farhadi is unpopular with Iranian hardliners who criticized "A Separation" as it illustrated gender inequality in Iran and the desire by many Iranians to leave the country.

Sociologist Ebrahim Fayyaz was quoted in Iranian media calling it "the worst Iranian film ever" as it was incompatible with Islamic morality and the ideal of defying the West.

Trump imposed a temporary travel ban on citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen as a first step in a policy he says will keep terrorists from entering the United States.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called the ban "extremely troubling" after noticing that Farhadi and his cast and crew could be barred.

"The Academy celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic or religious differences," it said on Saturday.


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