The 89th Academy Awards didn’t go off entirely without controversy.
The winner for “Best Foreign Language Film” was The Salesman, from prominent Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.
However, Farhardi decided not to attend the ceremony in protest against President Trump’s executive order preventing Iranians and citizens of 5 other Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 6 months, Reuters reports. The order was subsequently suspended by a federal judge.
Instead, the director chose two Iranian-Americans, a former NASA scientist and an engineer to accept the Oscar for him. Reading from Farhardi’s statement, the engineer, Anousheh Ansari, called Trump’s order “inhumane” and said “dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.”
The US State Department’s Persian language Twitter feed originally posted congratulations for Iran and Farhardi’s win:
— Iran Front Page (@IranFrontPage) February 27, 2017
Congratulations also came from Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif:
Proud of cast & crew of "The Salesman" for Oscar & stance against #MuslimBan. Iranians have represented culture & civilization for millennia
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 27, 2017
Yet some time later, the State Dept tweet was mysteriously deleted.
The luminaries at State apparently decided that the United States did, in fact, represent “dividing the world” on the basis of “fear, aggression and war,” and therefore didn’t want to be associated with Farhadi’s statement:
“A congratulatory tweet was posted,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “We later removed the post to avoid any misperception that the USG (U.S. government) endorsed the comments made in the acceptance speech.”
Maybe Zarif’s message had something to do with it too – the US couldn’t possibly agree with Iran could it? After all if Iran called the sky blue, Washington and Tel Aviv would call it red – since Iran is evil and so, always wrong.
While there are still hopes for a rapprochement with Moscow under Donald Trump’s administration, warming relations with Tehran is definitely not in the cards.