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Golshifteh Farahani is no stranger to being barred from countries.
After appearing in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies in 2008 alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, the Iranian-born actress found herself exiled from her own homeland, where hardline officials had taken offense to her appearing without a veil, both onscreen and on the red carpet.
Over the past decade, Farahani has been living in Paris and carving out a name for herself in the indie world, most recently alongside Adam Driver in Paterson, and big-budget fare such as Disney’s upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
But despite now holding a French passport, President Donald Trump’s travel ban has still managed to throw a major spanner in the works for her upcoming career plans.
“For sure, it’s affecting all of us, even me and I don’t even carry an Iranian passport anymore,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’m supposed to go to the U.S. this Saturday for a movie, but I might not be able to go. The embassy is so busy. I’ve been trying to get an ESTA, but I can’t even get onto the website. I think some crazy things are happening.”
Farahani — who says she has been on “an earthquake” since the ban was introduced — won’t reveal the film she was due to appear in, but says producers are now frantically searching for a backup should she not be able to travel.
“It’s terrible,” she says.
While Farahani’s visa problems may be purely logistical, she says the numerous Iranian refugees —those who, like her, aren’t able to return to Iran — feel the visa ban especially hard.
“We can’t even go back there. We don’t even have the opportunity of living in our own country, but still we are being punished,” she says.
The ban, she says, is a delusion by Trump to create an “imaginary enemy,” a tactic that is a “very old trick.”
But her question to the president is regarding those countries who have found themselves exempt.
“Why isn’t he banning Saudi Arabia? What about Pakistan? This is something we’re all asking ourselves. Is this about business, or about what? It’s absurd.” she says. “And I want to tell him that at this time in the world the only thing leaders should be doing is reuniting people instead of representing one nation or another as an enemy. It’s not going to work.”
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