Oscars 2017: Oscar nominated Iranian director sends video message to a US rally

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Tehran | Published: February 26, 2017 1:38:40 AM

The video has been published on Iranian social media. In it, Farhadi condemns the new US president's policies and says they are ''trying to promote hate.''

Oscar-nominated Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi has sent a video message to a rally attended by celebrities and top talent agents. (Reuters)

An Oscar-nominated Iranian film director has sent a video message to a rally attended by celebrities and top talent agents. It’s intended to thank the Hollywood community for its support during his boycott of the awards ceremony.
After US President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, including Iran, Asghar Farhadi decided to boycott the Oscars.

The video has been published on Iranian social media. In it, Farhadi condemns the new US president’s policies and says they are ”trying to promote hate.”

Farhadi said in his first public appearance since the ban: ”It is comforting to me to know that, at a time when some politicians are trying to promote hate by creating divisions between cultures and religions and nationalities.”

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Syria’s White Helmets rescuers will not attend Oscars

Rescue workers from Syria’s White Helmets group — the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary — will not attend this weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony because of intensified regime bombing, their leader said today.

“I am not going because of our workload due to intensified regime strikes on the provinces of Damascus, Daraa and Homs,” Raed Saleh told AFP.

“There are many things that have to be done on the ground, such as managing operations and providing emergency vehicles,” he said.

Saleh and fellow White Helmet member Khaled Khatib had been set to attend tomorrows ceremony in Hollywood, where “The White Helmets” is shortlisted for best short documentary.

Istanbul-based Khatib, who shot much of the footage, also confirmed that he would not attend the ceremony, despite obtaining an American visa.

“I won’t travel to OSCAR due to intensity of work, our priority is helping our people,” he tweeted in English today.

“I was going to leave on Tuesday, but there was too much work because of the bombing,” Khatib told AFP by telephone.

“I’m also working on producing another film about the White Helmets that has to be ready in two weeks. I will not go.”

The two rescuers had feared they could be barred from attending the ceremony because of US President Donald Trump’s late January executive order imposing a 90-day entry ban for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries, including Syria.

The ban has since been lifted by a US federal court, and on February 18 the pair received their visas.

More than 310,000 people have died since Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011, and more than half of the country’s citizens have been forced to flee their homes.

Since the White Helmets group was created in 2013, it has hired more than 3,000 volunteers and claims to have saved more than 78,000 lives.

It takes its name from the protective headgear worn by its members.

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