Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker, Asghar Farhadi, says two prominent Iranian Americans will be representing him and his film The Salesman at the upcoming Oscars ceremony.
Farhadi, whose film is nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar, said on Friday that Anousheh Ansari, famed for being the first female space tourist, and Firouz Naderi, a former director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA, will be his representatives at this year's Academy Awards.
The Iranian director said in a statement last month that he has decided not to participate in the Oscars ceremony in protest at the US President Donald Trump's proposed, but currently stalled, travel ban on seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran.
Farhadi added that he would boycott the ceremony even if he were granted an exception to the US president’s controversial decision.
The Salesman’s French producer, Alexandre Mallet-Guy, said in an email two days ago that Farhadi would not be doing interviews if the film won.
Farhadi’s publicist did not comment on the possibility of Ansari and Naderi relaying a statement from the director.
Ansari was born in the Iranian city of Mashhad in September 1966 and moved to the US in 1984 as a teenager. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and computer science at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and her master's degree at George Washington University in Washington D.C. She made global headlines in 2006 when she became the first female private space explorer and became the first Iranian and also the first Muslim woman to go to space.
Naderi was also born in Iran and left for the US in 1964. He spent more than 30 years in various positions at NASA, including the director of Solar Systems Exploration and manager of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. He left NASA in 2016 and is currently a management consultant.
Trump’s executive order, issued on January 27, blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.
US District Judge James Robart in Seattle, Washington, suspended the order nationwide on February 4 after his state challenged its legality. A three-judge panel in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Robart's ruling.
Farhadi's decision came after Iranian actress, Taraneh Alidoosti, who stars in The Salesman, said on January 26 that she had made up her mind to boycott this year's Academy Awards ceremony in a show of protest against the US president’s decision to impose visa bans on Iranians.
Farhadi's The Salesman took home two awards at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival last May.
The Salesman was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics' Choice Award among several other nationwide and universal recognitions.
Back in 2012, Farhadi won Iran its first-ever Academy Award with domestic drama A Separation.