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Oscars chiefs condemn Iranian US entry ban as The Salesman makes shortlist

The Salesman

Story by Jack Foley

THE organisers of the Oscars have added their voice to the chorus of disapproval surrounding President Donald Trump’s decision to sign an executive order banning Iranian nationals, and other immigrants, from entering the US.

In a strongly worded statement, the organisers said they found it “extremely troubling” that the makers of The Salesman, an Iranian film nominated for an Academy Award, may be barred from entering the country to attend the ceremony, which falls within the 90-day order banning Iranian nationals from the US.

The film’s lead actress, Taraneh Alidoosti, has already said she will boycott the ceremony. She has Tweeted: “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the Academy Awards 2017 in protest.”

The Salesman follows a high school teacher (played by Shahab Hosseini) who seeks revenge against the perpetrator who attacked his wife (Alidoosti) in their apartment. It currently has a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

A statement put out by the Oscars reads: ““As supporters of film-makers – 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 Academy added that it celebrates film-making “which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences”.

Mr Trump’s Order indefinitely blocks refugees fleeing Syria from entering America, and puts a three-month ban on travellers from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

He said the aim was to enable “extreme vetting” and to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out”.

President Trump has faced regular opposition from Hollywood luminaries, including Meryl Streep who earlier this month lambasted him a speech at the Golden Globes.

Award-winning filmmakers and executives at this year’s Sundance Film Festival used the weekend’s awards ceremony to take numerous pot-shots at him in the wake of his latest order.