The U.S. State Department on Monday issued and then deleted a congratulatory message for an Oscar win by a prominent Iranian director who criticized President Donald Trump’s travel ban as “inhumane.”
The State Department’s official Persian-language Twitter account, @USAdarFarsi, tweeted congratulations to the Iranian people and Asghar Farhadi, director of “The Salesman,” after the movie won an Oscar for best foreign-language film on Sunday, according to screenshots of the message circulated on Twitter.
Farhadi boycotted the Oscars ceremony to protest Trump’s January executive order that temporarily banned entry to the United States by Iranians and citizens of six other Muslim-majority countries, and issued a statement criticizing the order. The ban was blocked by federal courts, although the administration is working on a new order.
Farhadi chose two Iranian-Americans – a female engineer and a former NASA scientist – to represent him at the ceremony. Anousheh Ansari, an engineer who was the first female space tourist, read a statement on Farhadi’s behalf calling the travel ban “inhumane.”
“Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war,” Ansari said, reading from Farhadi’s statement.
According to screenshots circulating on Twitter, the @USAdarFarsi account posted a message around 1 a.m. EST congratulating Farhadi on the award, which was Iran’s second Oscar victory. The tweet was then deleted, although it is unclear exactly when.
“A congratulatory tweet was posted,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “We later removed the post to avoid any misperception that the USG (U.S. government) endorsed the comments made in the acceptance speech.”
A second State Department official said the decision to delete the tweet was made within the department.
The @USAdarFarsi account, which launched in February 2011 and seeks to engage directly with Iranians, had previously tweeted messages about “The Salesman,” including on Jan. 24, when it noted its Academy Award nomination and sent best wishes to Farhadi.
That tweet, which is still online, was published days before Trump issued the travel ban that sparked Farhadi’s protest.
Farhadi also won an Oscar in 2012 in the same category for his film “A Separation.” In his acceptance speech that year, Farhadi referred to tensions at the time between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear program, and said the Iranian people “despise hostility and resentment.”
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Trump team ‘is as incompetent, shambolic, paranoid, and given to conspiracy theories as it appears’: MSNBC panel
In a Sunday evening panel discussion, MSNBC commentators explained that the White House appears to be just as chaotic and marred by chaos as the rumors say.
Many in the White House learned that the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was working overseas in Ukraine. Giuliani claimed that he's been producing a film that he couldn't get Fox News to run, as it will appear on the fringe network OAN.
"What Rudy Giuliani is doing is using Kremlin-manufactured propaganda as a defensive shield for the president," said CNBC's John Harwood. "Fiona Hill was unambiguous in her testimony to the intelligence committee. What Rudy Giuliani has been doing with these two indicted men who are linked to a Russian oligarch who is tied to Russian organized crime, is trying to manufacture a story that Ukraine, rather than Russia or in addition to Russia or differently from Russia, meddle in the campaign. That is false."
Watch Devin Nunes freak out and eject reporters when asked about phone calls with Lev Parnas
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) lost it over the weekend when he was asked about his phone calls with Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas, who was recently indicted.
Nunes was at a Republican Party fundraiser in New York City when two Intercept reporters asked about the impeachment probe. Recent phone records subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee revealed that Nunes had multiple conversations with Giuliani and with Parnas.
Trump supporters lose their minds when church shows Nativity scene in immigrant cages
MAGA supporters are losing their minds after a photo of the Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church was posted to Facebook.
The scene depicts Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus separated and put in their own cages, a reference to the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Inside the church, the family is shown as reunited.
Senior minister Karen Clark Ristine shared the image on Facebook with the message hoping that everyone in the United States could see the photo and read the story for Christmas.
"The theological statement posted with the nativity: In a time in our country when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world," she wrote. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death."