Iran has announced it will withdraw its film entry, A Cube of Sugar, from the Oscars following the appearance of a US-made anti-Islam film titled Innocence of Muslims on the internet. The latter, made by a group of extremist Christians in the US, allegedly ridicules the Islamic religion.
According to the ISNA news agency, Iran’s culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini, is reported to have said: “I am officially announcing that in reaction to the intolerable insult to the Great Prophet of Islam, we will refrain from taking part in this year’s Oscars and we ask other Islamic nations to show their protest like this.”
An outbreak of protests occurred across Muslim countries after excerpts of Innocence of Muslims dubbed into Arabic appeared online. This resulted in the recent killings of a US ambassador and three US officials in Libya. Several non-violent protests against the film have also taken place in Tehran.
The US government stated that it regretted the contents of the film but expressed its inability to withdraw the film from the public as it would be considered a negation of the filmmaker’s freedom of expression.
Iranian film, A Separation, won Best Foreign Language Film at the last Academy Awards ceremony.
Since the announcement in Tehran, the Oscars committee has not had official confirmation of the withdrawal.
A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles said: “We’ve seen the news reports, but haven’t had any direct communication from the Iranian Selection Committee.”