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Iranian director sent prominent Iranian-American engineers to accept his Oscar
Engineer and astronaut Anousheh Ansari, left, and former NASA scientist Firouz Naderi accept best foreign language film for “The Salesman” on behalf of director Asghar Farhadi. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Ashgar Farhadi won his second Oscar, but he decided not to attend tonight’s ceremony after President Trump signed an executive order barring visa-holders from Iran and six other countries to enter the United States.

In his place, Farhadi sent two prominent Iranian-Americans in his place to the ceremony: Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space traveler, and Firouz Naderi, a former director at NASA.

Ansari read from a statement written by Farhadi. “It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the Academy, my crew in Iran,” and others involved in the film, “The Salesman.”

She continued reading the statement:

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the 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 ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever. Thank you on behalf of Mr. Farhadi.”
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Live coverage of the 89th Academy Awards with instant analysis and commentary on the red carpet, the winners and the biggest moments.