Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of The Salesman, will not be attending the 2017 Academy Awards due to Donald Trump’s new immigration policy, according to The New York Times.
Farhadi, who is up for a win in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category, issued a statement which explains that he won’t be attending the ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 26.
“I neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection, for I know that many in the American film industry and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are opposed to the fanaticism and extremism which are today taking place more than ever,” he wrote. Farhadi has already won the award once before; his film A Separation won in 2012. With that win, he became the first Iranian to win an Oscar.
“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,” he continued. “I believe that the root cause of many of the hostilities among nations in the world today must be searched for in their reciprocal humiliation carried out in its past and no doubt the current humiliation of other nations are the seeds of tomorrow’s hostilities.”
He later suggests that Trump’s policy, which bans individuals from seven primarily Muslim countries (including Iran) from coming to the U.S., is not a very new type of evil.
“For years on both sides of the ocean, groups of hardliners have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears,” he explained.
“Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals…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.”
Read Farhadi’s full statement here, and watch the trailer for The Salesman below.