Asghar Farhadi’s Best Foreign Film win for The Salesman was one of the more politically charged moments of Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony – as the film and director’s home country of Iran are among the seven countries whose citizens President Trump has attempted to bar from entering the United States. Farhadi had vowed to protest that policy by not attending the ceremony, and he kept his word; engineer and entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian in space, came in his place and read a statement on his behalf. And that statement made things a little awkward for the State Department.
You see – as first reported by Reuters – State has a @USAdarFarsi Twitter account, created six years ago to engage directly with Iranians. Back in January, when the Oscar nominations were announced, they tweeted a congratulatory message to Farhadi on The Salemsan’s nomination. So they sent a similar message after the film won its Oscar – and then, sometime in the hours that followed, quietly deleted it.
“A congratulatory tweet was posted,” a state department spokeswoman explained. “We later removed the post to avoid any misperception that the USG [US government] endorsed the comments made in the acceptance speech.”
And what exactly was the difficult-to-endorse part? I’m guessing it was “My absence is out of respect for people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the us and the enemy categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for regression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries in which have themselves have been victims of aggression.”
Hey, whaddaya know, the State Department just gave all the news outlets reporting this story an excuse to run that quote again.