Asghar Farhadi with his Oscar for A Separation, which won best foreign language film in 2012. (Getty Images)

November 17, 2021

Iran’s Oscar-winning film director Asghar Farhadi has distanced himself from the government and the Revolutionary Guard in a statement published on Tuesday.

Farhadi wrote the statement in response to a remark by one of the IRGC’s filmmaking organization that previously funded a number of Iranian movies. The official had said: “Farhadi is an intelligent filmmaker. He behaves in a way to please both the government and those who are outside the government,” in a way accusing Farhadi of hypocrisy.

This comes while some film critics in Iran and abroad have accused Farhadi of showing the Islamic Republic in a good light to please the ruling mullahs. In his latest film that has been nominated by the government as Iran’s entry for the Academy Award, Farhadi showed Iranian prisons in a way the critics described as beautifying a violent regime.

Farhadi said he has no problem if the government decides to pull his film, A Hero, out of the competition for an academy award. He has already won two academy awards for his films A Separation (best foreign language film screenplay in 2012) and Salesman (best foreign language film in 2017). A Hero won the Grand Prix in Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

He told the IRGC official: “I should say very clearly that I hate you!” adding “How can you deceitfully link me to a government whose hardliners have done everything to tarnish my image?” Farhadi also said he has already declared his views about the downing of a passenger aircraft by the IRGC in 2020 and the murdering of protesters in 2019 as well as causing the death of thousands of Iranians by ignoring their need for vaccines against COVID-19. However, he did not say where he publicized his views about these atrocities. Critics had previously lashed out at him for not expressing his views on these matters.

Meanwhile, the renowned filmmaker revealed for the first time that his passport was repeatedly confiscated at the Tehran airport and asked once again, “How can you link me to a government that has said many times that I had better not return to Iran.” It is still not clear whether Farhadi released this statement from abroad or he is in Iran, in which case it could entail punishment by the regime.

Addressing the IRGC official, Farhadi said: “I have never had any sympathy with your backward thoughts and approaches and have never needed to be praised by you. While you have accused me for years of portraying Iran disparagingly, now some others are alleging that I am beautifying the regime.”

He added: “If you think nominating my film as Iran’s entry for anAcademy Award brings me under your flag, I declare very clearly that I have no problem with withdrawing my film from the competition.”

Farhadi added that he regrets that his decision to remain in Iran and make films in Iran has led to the belief that he is a hypocrite. He also promised that he will soon speak out clearly about the other controversies surrounding himself and his movies.

Some two months ago, referring to the way the Iranian government handled the COVID-19 pandemic, Farhadi said the people are angry that “the system” has not taken any decision to improve people’s lives. He told the US movie publication Hollywood Reporter that Iranians will never forgive the ban on importing of US and UK-made vaccines.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the purchase of American and British vaccines in January, and his decision reportedly led to thousands of avoidable deaths.

Iran International

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.