Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-nominated, intricate morality play, The Salesman, is out in theaters today. It holds a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and beyond the acclaim it’s received, it’s also making the news for another reason: its star, Tarineh Alidoosti (who also played the lead in Farhadi’s About Elly), tweeted a response to recent news of Donald Trump’s Islamophobic policy plans.
One day after the L.A. Times published a leaked draft of Trump’s executive order for a 30-day ban on the recognition of visas issued to people from seven Muslim-majority countries (including Iran), Alidoosti wrote on Twitter, “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest.” The New York Times followed up with the actress, whose film is nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. She confirmed to the newspaper that even if the ban doesn’t prevent her entering America, she still won’t be attending:
I decided not to go even if I could, because it hurts me deeply to see ordinary people of my country being rejected for what might be their legal right to have access to their children abroad or to their school classes as students… I’m sure the United States has also benefited many times from Iranian immigrants and people who have worked there and served that country. So it’s not acceptable to me to respect a state that does not respect the people of my country.
In The Salesman — in a role, honestly, that deserved Best Actress recognition — Alidoosti plays a theater actress who, along with her husband, is forced out of her home by rapid development in Tehran. In a new, temporary apartment, their lives are altered to harrowing effect by a visitor from a former tenant’s past, in a way that not only traumatizes the couple, but also risks dividing them along moral lines.