Iran’s state television announced on Monday that the country’s foreign film success at the Oscars was a victory over Israel.
The broadcast said that the Iranian film “The Separation” succeeded in “leaving behind” a film from the “Zionist regime,” the Associated Press reported.
The Iranian film “A Separation,” which explores the complex social and religious codes of contemporary Iranian society, competed in the Oscars’ foreign language category against the Israeli “Footnote,” about a rivalry between father-son academics, both Talmudic scholars.
Iran prides itself on having a long history of cultural achievements. However, state censorship and the regime’s concerted attempts at restricting freedom of speech in the name of Islamic morality, have forced many artists in cinema, literature and the arts to flee the country or work underground.
“At a time of tug of war, intimidation and aggressions exchanged between politicians, the name of their county, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics,” the director of the film, Asghar Farhadi, said as he accepted the Oscar.
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment," he continued.
"A Separation" is the first Iranian film to win an Oscar. The only other Iranian movie ever nominated was 1997's "Children of Heaven," which was defeated by the Italian Holocaust-themed film "Life Is Beautiful".