Asghar Farhadi Tells London Protesters: Global Opposition to Trump Travel Ban Is "Powerful" Movement

Fabrizio Maltese
Asghar Farhadi

"It has within itself the power to stand up to fascism, be victorious in the face of extremism,” said the Iranian director, whose 'The Salesman' is nominated for the foreign-language Oscar.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose The Salesman is nominated for this year's best foreign-language film Oscar, told about 10,000 protesters in London on Sunday that global opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban was key to empowering people to fight oppression everywhere.

Speaking Sunday evening London time, just hours before the Academy Awards ceremony, via a video link from Tehran to people attending a London protest gathering, which included a public screening of The Salesman in Trafalgar Square, Farhadi said that solidarity in the face of the ban across different parts of the world "has developed into a powerful and unified movement," according to The Guardian.

The paper also quoted Farhadi as saying: "This solidarity is off to a great start. I hope this movement will continue and spread, for it has within itself the power to stand up to fascism, be victorious in the face of extremism and say no to oppressive political powers everywhere.”

Farhadi, joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and British director Mike Leigh, added: “We are all citizens of the world, and I will endeavor to protect and spread this unity.”

Khan organized the screening with actor and model Lily Cole, producer Kate Wilson and filmmaker Mark Donne to celebrate the British capital’s "success as a creative hub and beacon for openness and diversity."

The Guardian quoted the London mayor as saying: "President Trump can’t silence me. As I look around Trafalgar Square, I am proud and you should be proud, too, because here today we have men and women, old and young, rich and poor, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists ... we have people from all around the world and the key message we send to the world is London is open."

Khan also said "we stand in solidarity with Asghar Farhadi" and "all those who are discriminated against because of their nationality, faith or background."

Farhadi said last month that he would boycott the Oscars ceremony due to the travel ban for citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari and former director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA Firouz Naderi will attend the Academy Awards in Farhadi's place.