When Asgar Farhadi accepted his Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film on behalf of his movie A Separation, he used the occasion to make a moving speech about how important it is to see his country, Iran, not through the politicians and ideologues who run it, but the people who actually live there. He ended the speech with a statement that was as much about gratitude for winning as a mission statement for Iranians who feel overshadowed by politics that have little to do with their actual beliefs: "I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."

It was a lovely speech and a beautiful moment for anybody who loved A Separation or who has interest in Iran separate from its complicated politics-- I can only imagine how it felt for actual Iranians. But for the country's state-run TV, it was sadly turned into other opportunity for the exact kind of divisive politics Farhadi was rebuking. According to Variety, the TV station IRIB described A Separation's Best Foreign Language Oscar win as a moment to "leave behind" a movie from the "Zionist regime"-- that is, beating out the Israeli Best Foreign Language Film nominee Footnote. It's not surprising, exactly, that the Iranian government would use any opportunity to get a dig on their rival Israel, but it is disappointing-- a supreme example of a government completely missing the point.

Lucky for Farhadi and anyone else interested in a more nuanced view of Iran, A Separation continues to speak for itself, and will likely be seen by even more people thanks to the Oscar win. It's a must-see movie even with no politics involved at all.

You can watch Farhadi's Oscar acceptance speech below:

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