Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and actor Shahab Hosseini win awards for their work on "The Salesman" at Cannes

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban May Keep Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi From Attending The Oscars

Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, announced on Friday afternoon, may prevent artists like Iranian director Asghar Farhadi from attending the Academy Awards this year. Farhadi’s latest film, The Salesman, has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the 89th Academy Awards. This is the Iranian director’s second Academy Awards nomination: In 2012, Farhadi’s movie A Separation was nominated and received the award for Best Foreign Language Film that year.

President Donald Trump’s executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” and presented in full text by New York Times, will suspend the entry of citizens from Muslim-predominant countries, including Iran. According to Politico, Trump’s executive order will hit a pause on the U.S.’s refugee resettlement program for 120 days. The new order will also impose an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and a 90-day entry ban for citizens from Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan (and perhaps also Libya, Yemen, and Somalia).

Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who has starred in movies directed by Asghar Farhadi, including About Elly and The Salesman, announced on Twitter two days ago that she won’t be attending the Academy Awards in protest of Trump’s visa ban.

The actress tweeted today that Iranians were not among the attackers of the September 11 terrorist attack. Alidoosti’s tweet was in response to a New York Times article that pointed out that none of the countries that were behind the attacks, including Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, were on the banned entry list, despite Trump’s statement that “We will never forget the lessons of 9/11” before the signing of the executive order.

Whether or not director Asghar Farhadi will actually be barred from entry into the U.S. is a matter that remains undecided. Trita Parsi, leader of the National Iranian American Council, tweeted today that it had been confirmed that Farhadi wouldn’t be let into the U.S. and would be unable to attends the Oscars.

Hadi Nili, a BBC correspondent, however, later responded that the director’s office has declared that there is no “legal obstacle” that currently prevents Farhadi from visiting the U.S. According to Nili, the Iranian director hasn’t decided on whether he would attend the Oscars ceremony. The Wrap has noted that Trump’s executive order allows for exceptions and that visas and immigration benefits might be allowed for certain individuals on a case-by-case basis.

News that Farhadi may be prevented from attending the Academy Awards is not the only example of filmmakers facing roadblocks in entering the U.S. In 2013, Uproxx disclosed that Palestinian documentary filmmaker Emad Burnat was detained by immigration and was threatened with deportation at LAX when he landed in the U.S. to attend the Oscars. More recently, according to IndieWire, Iraqi filmmaker Hussein Hassan withdrew his visa application to attend the Miami Film Festival for the North American premiere of his film Reseba – The Dark Wind as an act of peaceful protest.

In response to growing concerns that Farhadi may be unable to attend the ceremony due to Trump’s Muslim ban, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued the following statement to IndieWire.

“The Academy celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences. 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.”

The academy isn’t the only party that’s responding to Trump’s new policies. The Independent reports that the Council on American-Islamic Relations will be filing a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Trump’s executive order. And today, a protest against Trump’s Muslim ban is currently being held held at Terminal 4 of the JFK airport.

[Featured Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]

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