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Iranian Director to Skip Oscars Over Trump's Travel Ban

Asghar Farhadi, an acclaimed director whose film, "The Salesman," was nominated for best foreign language film, will not attend

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    In this Oct. 10, 2016 file photo, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi poses for a photo during the premiere of his film, "The Salesman, in Paris. The motion picture academy calls "extremely troubling," the possible visa ban of Iranian director Farhadi, whose feature film "The Salesman" is nominated for a best foreign language Oscar.

    An Oscar-nominated Iranian director said Sunday he will not attend this year's Academy Awards because of a travel ban imposed by President Donald Trump.

    Asghar Farhadi, an acclaimed director whose film, "The Salesman," was nominated for best foreign language film, said the uncertainty surrounding his ability to travel to the United States was "in no way acceptable," and that he would not attend next month's ceremony even if an exception to the ban were possible.

    An executive order issued last week temporarily bans the entry of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. The administration says it is necessary to keep out potential terrorists while stricter vetting procedures are put in place.

    Farhadi became the first Iranian to win an Oscar, for his 2011 film, "A Separation."

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    He said he had initially hoped to attend the awards and express his opinions in the press surrounding the event.

    "However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip," he said.

    He compared "hard-liners" in the United States to those in his own country, saying both "have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears."

    He went on to condemn the "unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries," and expressed "hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations."

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    In a statement released Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expressed concern that Farhadi and his cast and crew may not be permitted to attend the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles, calling it "extremely troubling."

    On Thursday, Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the "The Salesman," tweeted she would boycott the Oscars — whether allowed to attend or not — in protest of Trump's immigration policies, which she called "racist."