EghtesadOnline: Acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi introduced two prominent Iranian-Americans to represent his movie, “The Salesman,” at the Oscar Academy Awards which is to be held on Feb 26.
The first female space tourist engineer Anousheh Ansari and former director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA Professor Firouz Naderi are to attend the Oscar Academy Awards on Farhadi's behalf, according to IRNA.
Farhadi, who had won Iran's first-ever Academy Award with a domestic drama, ‘A Separation,’ in 2012, decided not to attend the prestigious cinematic event this year after the US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on February 9 which banned entry to US of nationals of seven Muslim majority countries including Iran.
On January 29, Farhadi announced that he would not attend the Oscars ceremony this year, even if he was granted an exception to US President visa ban for citizens from Iran and six other predominantly Muslim countries.
“'I regret to announce via this statement that I have decided not to attend the Academy Awards Ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community, ”Farhadi said.
'Over the course of the past few days and despite the unjust circumstances which have risen for the immigrants and travelers of several countries to the United States, my decision had remained the same: to attend this ceremony and to express my opinions about these circumstances in the press surrounding the event. 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.'
Farhadi’s latest production has won the Oscars nomination alongside three European contenders and one Australian rival.
Experts believe that the Salesman is more likely to win Oscars because it has previously won the award for best screenplay at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in 2016.
Farhadi’s decision on introducing two famous Iranian scientists as his representatives at Oscars was highly welcomed by Western, particularly American, media.
Variety, a weekly American magazine on cinema, wore that Farhadi's decision to introduce 'two prominent Iranian Americans with no ties to the film world' to represent him during the Oscars ceremony is a way 'to underline that America is a nation of immigrants, including Iranians.”
Born in Iran, Ansari moved to the US in 1984 as a teenager. She become popular across the world in 2006 when she became the first female private space explorer, by boarding a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for an eight-day expedition, becoming the first Iranian and also the first Muslim woman in space.
Naderi, who was also born in Iran and left for the US in 1964, spent more than 30 years in various positions at NASA, including director of Solar Systems Exploration and manager of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. He retired from NASA in 2016.
The Oscars Academy also released a statement in support of Farhadi.
“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 statement reads.
In another development, it was reported that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is also slated to join some of the leading names in British film at a free premiere screening of the Oscar-nominated “The Salesman” Farhadi which was affected by Donald Trump’s travel ban.
'During Academy Awards night on 26 February, Trafalgar Square will be transformed into London’s biggest open-air cinema for the first UK showing of Farhadi’s drama, hours before the Oscars are handed out in Hollywood,' wrote the British national daily newspaper, Guardian.
Trump's decision has widely been censured by human rights bodies, indicating that he has targeted Muslims for their beliefs.
According to latest reports by Western media, Farhadi is to address a rally in Beverly Hills next Friday via video from Tehran, Reuters quoted the United Talent Agency officials who organized the rally.
The UTA represents Farhadi in Hollywood.
The rally is being held instead of the agency's traditional pre-Oscar party, said the organizers adding that the gathering is being held 'to protest policies of exclusion and division.'
The 89th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will honor the best films of 2016 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on Sunday.