DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Monday it would boycott the 2013 Oscars to protest against the making of a crude anti-Islam video in the United States that has caused outrage throughout the Muslim world.
Despite tough censorship and the repression of leading film makers, Iranian art cinema has earned international acclaim over the past 20 years.
Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” won the Oscar for best foreign language film in February, the first Iranian film to do so.
Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini said Iran would boycott the next Academy Awards “to protest against the making of a film insulting the Prophet and because of the organisers’ failure to take an official position (against the film),” the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.
He also urged other Islamic countries to boycott the Oscars.
The amateurish video, made in California with private financing and posted on YouTube, portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a womaniser and a fool. It has ignited weeks of violent protests across the Muslim world in which dozens of people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed.
Iranian officials have demanded that the United States apologize to Muslims, saying the video is only the latest in a series of Western insults aimed at Islam. Washington has condemned the content of the film while defending the right to free speech.
“The position that Western politicians have adopted on these great insults are no different from a position of enmity,” Iranian media quoted Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying on Monday.
Reza Mirkarimi’s dramatic comedy “A Cube of Sugar” had been chosen as Iran’s submission for the 2013 foreign-language Oscar, Hosseini said.
Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Kevin Liffey