Iran announced on Monday it was yanking its entry in the Oscars race because of the "intolerable insult" of the “Innocence of Muslims” film that has angered Muslims in several countries.
"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," Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini declared, according to the ISNA news agency.
Iran was pulling its sole movie entered in the Academy Awards, "A Cube of Sugar," after discussions with its production company, he said.
The move reflected Iran's fury over the low-budget film that ridicules the prophet Mohammed.
Excerpts of it dubbed into Arabic and available on the Internet have sparked protests in many Muslim countries, some of which have turned deadly, including one September 11 incident in Libya in which the U.S. ambassador to that country and three other officials were killed.
Several non-violent protests against the film have taken place in Tehran.
"This film was made in America and the Oscars are held there, and so far no official stance by the nation which made this film has been taken," Hosseini said, according to ISNA.
In the last Academy Awards, held in February this year, an Iranian film, "A Separation," won the Oscar for best foreign language film. The Iranian film beat out Israel’s ”Footnote,” a movie on the relationship between a father and son, both Talmudic scholars at an Israeli university, and the intrigues that are rife in the competitive field of academic Talmudic research.
Iran’s state television later announced that the country’s foreign film success at the Oscars was a victory over Israel.