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Star Of Iran’s ‘The Salesman’ Won’t Attend Oscars Over Donald Trump’s “Racist” Visa Ban

Deadline logo Deadline 1/26/2017 Nancy Tartaglione
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Actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who stars in Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-nominatedThe Salesman, has said she will not attend next month’s Academy Awards over U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported proposed ban on issuing visas to Iranian nationals, as well as six other Middle Eastern countries. Taking to Twitter today, she called the ban “racist” and pledged not to attend the awards “in protest.”

In The Salesman, which is nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category, the actress plays one half of a young couple forced to move into a new apartment after their old flat becomes damaged. Once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant changes the couple’s life. In the film, they are also starring in a production of Death Of A Salesman. The psychological drama premiered in Cannes where it won the screenplay prize and Best Actor for Shahab Hosseini who plays Alidoosti’s husband.

Alidoosti also recently starred in Shahrzad, a popular Iranian online TV series set in the 1950s and reportedly the most expensive ever made in the country.

On Tuesday, the National Iranian American Council issued a statement regarding reports that Trump plans to issue an Executive Order banning refugees and visa holders from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

It wrote in part:

“Donald Trump is making good on the most shameful and discriminatory promises he made on the campaign trail. He called for a Muslim ban and is now taking the first steps to implement one. This will not stand. The American people are better than this.

“This Executive Order is a fundamental challenge to what America is supposed to represent. Many Iranian Americans, like most Americans, immigrated here for a brighter future based on the promise that America has represented for centuries. Donald Trump appears intent on throwing that America away and taking us down a slippery slope towards a dark future. We never imagined that the U.S. would become a country that bars its doors and formally condones xenophobia…

“This is discriminatory. This is un-American. And last but not least: This is dangerous as it pits Americans against Americans while undermining the very principles of inclusivity and tolerance that define America. We will not be silent and will use every resource at our disposal to fight these shameful actions and protect the values and people who make America great.”

Farhadi, who is arguably the best known Iranian filmmaker currently working on the international stage, previously won an Oscar for 2011’s A Separation. I spoke with him from Tehran on Tuesday after the Oscar nominations, but before reports of the proposed ban. At the time, he told me he would be returning to Los Angeles for the annual Oscar nominees luncheon and related events.

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