Iranian Actress Vows to Boycott Academy Awards over Trump’s Visa Ban

The Salesman - Asghar Farhadi

Taraneh Alidoosti, the leading actress in Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman,” which has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Oscar this year, vowed on Thursday to boycott the Academy Awards ceremony to protest US President Trump’s temporary ban on visas to citizens from seven countries, including Iran.

The US President Donald Trump said this week that he would issue an executive order to suspend immigration for at least 30 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It remains unclear how and whether the ban would take effect.

In reaction to the ban, Taraneh Alidoosti wrote on her Twitter account, “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest.”

In an email interview with New York Times, she said that she would not attend the Oscars ceremony on February 26 even if it turned out the proposed ban did not affect her ability to get a visa.

“I decided not to go even if I could, because it hurts me deeply to see ordinary people of my country being rejected for what might be their legal right to have access to their children abroad or to their school classes as students,” Alidoosti said.

“The Salesman,” which is also Iran’s official submission to the Academy Awards, is one of five films vying for best foreign language film. It is directed by Asghar Farhadi whose “A Separation” won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012.

“The Salesman” tells the story of a couple in Tehran whose lives are irrevocably changed when they have to move apartments while starring in an amateur production of Arthur Miller’s “The Death of a Salesman.”

Alidoosti said she had not discussed her decision with Farhadi and did not know who would represent the film at the ceremony. She said that the director had generally brought the lead actors of his films to foreign awards ceremonies, including to the Cannes Film Festival, where “The Salesman” received a strong critical reception last year.

The actress noted that the United States did not have an embassy in Tehran and that Iranians often travelled to neighboring countries to secure visas. “Many people have urgent medical cases,” she said. “I’m sure all of them are not just going through the ordeal for a fun vacation; they might have a more serious case.”

“I’m sure the United States has also benefited many times from Iranian immigrants and people who have worked there and served that country,” Alidoosti added. “So it’s not acceptable to me to respect a state that does not respect the people of my country.”

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