Iran state TV says Oscar win victory over Israel
By Rizwan Khatik - Mon Feb 27, 2:16 pm
Iran trumpeted the Islamic Republic’s first foreign film Oscar win Monday as a triumph over archfoe Israel even as audiences in Israel packed theaters to watch the movie that beat their country’s entry at the Academy Awards.
The groundbreaking success of “A Separation,” which tells the story of a failing marriage, was cast mostly in nationalist terms by Iranian authorities amid a mounting showdown between Israel and its Western allies over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
Yet the high-profile attention by Iran’s Islamic leadership also represents a rare stamp of approval on the country’s movie industry, which collects awards and accolades worldwide but is often dismissed by hard-liners at home as dominated by Western-tainted liberals and political dissenters.
The Israeli film “Footnote” was in the competition against director Asghar Farhadi’s movie, which explores troubles in Iranian society through the story of a marriage in collapse. Many Iranian hard-liners objected to the themes of domestic turmoil, gender inequality and the desire by many Iranians to leave the country.
Iranian state media used the Oscar-winning film to trumpet a success over Israel. The state TV broadcast said the award succeeded in “leaving behind” a film from the “Zionist regime,” the phrase often used in Iran to describe Israel.
Israel has not ruled out military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, which the West fears could be used to develop weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes like energy production and cancer treatment.
Javad Shamaghdari, head of Iran’s Cinematic Agency, portrayed the Oscar decision as the “beginning of the collapse” of Israeli influence that “beats the drum of war” in the U.S.
In Israel, however, the film has been a hit despite the daily headlines in Israeli newspapers warning of the Iranian nuclear threat.