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Joshua Hersh
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Oscars 2012: 'A Separation' Director Pleas For Iran To Be Seen For Its 'Glorious Culture'

Posted: 02/26/12 10:20 PM ET  |  Updated: 02/26/12 11:41 PM ET

Oscars Separation Iranian
Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Iranian film "A Separation," delivers his acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards.

The director of the Iranian film "A Separation," which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film Sunday night, delivered a heartfelt plea for the people of Iran to be recognized for their contributions to culture and not just for the harsh words exchanged lately between political officials.

"At this time many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy," said Asghar Farhadi, the writer and director of the film. "They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture."

For the past several months, Iran has become a byword for threat and violence in much of the West, with Israel suggesting the country's possession of a nuclear weapon would be grounds for war.

The U.S. has urged Israel not to take military action, and most American intelligence assessments still say Iran is not actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.

In a seeming response to war-like rhetoric from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is often said to have called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," Farhadi added that he offered his award to "the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."

As it happens, among the films "A Separation" defeated for the Oscar was an Israeli film, "Footnote."

"A Separation" tells the story of an upper-middle class family living in Tehran and falling apart, as it struggles to balance its daily life with its competing desires to leave the oppressive society of Iran.

Even as Farhadi celebrated a different version of Iran being recognized at the Oscars, he also didn't hold back in his critique about the regime there itself, accusing it of smothering "a rich and ancient culture...under heavy dust of politics."

Farhadi's extended remarks are below:

At this time many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy. They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture. A rich and ancient culture that has been under heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this honor to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment. Thank you very much.
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