Ban might keep director from Oscars

NY Times News Service

Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - Page 3

The ability of an Oscar-nominated Iranian director to attend the Academy Awards ceremony next month has been thrown into question by US President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.

The director, Asghar Farhadi, whose film The Salesman is nominated in the best foreign-language film category, was not immediately available for comment.

However, early on Saturday, Trita Parsi, director of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, said in a Twitter post: “Confirmed: Iran’s Asghar Farhadi won’t be let into the US to attend Oscar’s. He’s nominated for best foreign-language film... #MuslimBan”.

In a telephone interview hours later, Parsi said he had heard only second-hand that Farhadi would not attend the ceremony on Feb. 26.

Parsi said his intention with the message posted on Twitter was to show that under the new immigration policy announced on Friday, no Iranians would be allowed entry into the US for 90 days.

“The clarification of the law made it very clear that he can’t come, whether a green card holder or an Iranian citizen,” Parsi said of Farhadi, whose film A Separation won an Oscar for best foreign-language film in 2012.

It was unclear whether Farhadi would request an exemption to the visa ban or be granted one by the US government.

Earlier this week, one of the stars of The Salesman, Taraneh Alidoosti, said in a message on Twitter that she would boycott the Oscars to protest the visa ban, which she called “racist.” The ban was not policy at the time.

In a statement, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it was “extremely troubling” that Farhadi and the cast and crew of The Salesman could be “barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”