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Asghar Farhadi condemned the unjust conditions forced upon some of his compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries. (Design: Amir Hossein Baratloo)
Asghar Farhadi condemned the unjust conditions forced upon some of his compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries. (Design: Amir Hossein Baratloo)

Farhadi Decides Not to Attend Oscars 2017

The celebrated filmmaker says: I believe that the similarities among human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences

Farhadi Decides Not to Attend Oscars 2017

Globally-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has announced that he will not participate in the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony.
Farhadi, who represents Iran at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category with his feature ‘The Salesman’, said on Sunday he has decided not to attend the event slated for February 26 in Los Angeles, in protest against the unfair executive order signed by US President Donald Trump which bans people of seven Muslim countries, including Iran, to travel to the US for three months.
“I had planned to attend the ceremony with my cinematographer, Hussein Jafarian, and over the course of the past few days, my decision had remained the same. However, it now seems that 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,” Farhadi said in a statement to The New York Times.
“Hard-liners, whatever their nationalities, 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.”
In another part of the statement, he said, “I believe that the similarities among human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences”.
“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.”
Farhadi concluded by expressing condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of his compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the US, and hoped that the current situation “will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
On Friday, Trump signed the executive order to suspend entry of refugees to the US for 120 days, and imposed an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. A 90-day ban was also placed on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Soon after, Taraneh Alidoosti, Iranian star of ‘The Salesman’, tweeted in protest against the new policy, writing that “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist” and that she would not be attending the Oscars.

 AMPAS, WGA Condemn Ban
A day before Farhadi announced his decision the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued the following statement: “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. 
As supporters of filmmakers - 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.”
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) also blasted Trump’s new order. “It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into,” said WGA West president Howard Rodman and WGA East president Michael Winship in a statement on Sunday.
“We are especially troubled by reports that Asghar Farhadi, director of ‘The Salesman,’ which won Best Screenplay at Cannes (last May) and is now nominated for an Oscar, may together with his cast and crew be prevented from entering our country,” they said. 
“From its early days, the entertainment industry has been built by the imagination of immigrants. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations, and of varying beliefs, who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful to them, we stand with them, we will fight for them.”
All in all, Iranians and film fans in the world should wait and see how these controversies will affect the voting for the best foreign language picture. Farhadi’s film has been greatly admired so far by international critics and audiences and despite having powerful competitors from Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, it is likely that the Oscar voters could vote for Farhadi in sympathy.

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