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Director Sending Substitutes To Oscars In Immigration Policy Protest

The Oscar-nominated Iranian director of the film The Salesman has said he will not attend the February 26 Academy Awards but will send two prominent Iranian-Americans in his place.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency said on February 24 that director Asghar Farhadi made the decision in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump's now-suspended crackdown on immigration.

Electronic engineer Anousheh Ansari and Firouz Naderi, a NASA executive, will be Farhadi's representatives at the Oscars, ISNA said.

Ansari also has a connection to the space program, being the first Iranian and first Muslim woman in space when she paid to become a space tourist in 2006 aboard a Russian Soyuz craft.

The report did not say why Farhadi chose the pair, but show-business publication Variety speculated that he did not want anyone overtly political and hoped to underline that America is a nation of immigrants.

Trump said his immigration crackdown was made to prevent potential terrorists from entering the United States.

The Salesman, a drama set in Tehran, is competing in the best foreign language Oscar category.

Farhadi won the Oscar for the best foreign language film in 2012 for A Separation.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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