Iranian director decries 'us and them' mentality that means he'll miss Oscar ceremony
Iran's Asghar Farhadi says he won't travel to U.S. as Academy speaks out against travel ban
The motion picture academy calls the possible visa ban of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi "extremely troubling" and the director himself confirmed he would not attend, calling the travel restrictions "in no way acceptable."
Farhadi's feature film The Salesman is nominated for a best foreign language Oscar.
In a statement released Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expressed concern that Farhadi and his cast and crew may not be permitted to attend next month's Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles following President Trump's plan to temporarily suspend issuing visas for people from Iran and six other Muslim countries.
Farhadi commented on Sunday that he would not attend the Oscars ceremony next month even if he were granted an exception to President Trump's visa ban for citizens from Iran.
In his statement, he wrote that he had not intended to boycott the ceremony and had intended to speak out about the ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries to the press while in Hollywood.
On Friday, the president of the National Iranian American Council, Trita Parsi, tweeted: "Confirmed: Iran's Asghar Farhadi won't be let into the U.S. to attend Oscars."
Now he knows there is uncertainty about his entry to the U.S., Farhadi took the chance to openly condemn the ban, drawing parallels between hard-line politicians in Iran and the U.S.
"Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way," he wrote.
"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," he said.
He added that he believes "similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences."
On Thursday, Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the The Salesman, tweeted she would boycott the Oscars — whether allowed to attend or not — in protest of Trump's immigration policies, which she called "racist."
In its statement Saturday, the academy said, "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."
With files from CBC News