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Q. I want to ask you what you felt, Mr. Asghar ‑‑ could you tell us how he pronounces his last name?

A. Farhadi.

Q. Farhadi.  Thank you.  I just wanted to get it right.
Mr. Farhadi, what message do you think he sent tonight by not showing up?  Because I think he was trying to send a message tonight.

A. (Anousheh Ansari)  I think he wanted to stand in solidarity with the rest of the people who have been subject of the travel ban and that are not able to go see their friends, their family members, and a lot of other, you know, important ‑‑ share the important moments in their lives.  So he could not be here receiving this award, which means a lot to him, and that’s a big message he was sending.

Q. What did you think when he asked you to accept this for him on his behalf, and what is this experience like for you?

A. (Dr. Firouz Naderi)  You know, there are a ‑‑ quite a number of prominent Iranian‑Americans here that he could have asked, actors, actresses.  I think the reason that he chose the two of us, she is an astronaut.  She has gone to the space station.  I work for NASA.  I have managed NASA’s Mars program and Solar System.  I think the reason is that if you go away from the Earth and look back at the Earth, you don’t see any of the borders, any of the lines.  You just see one whole beautiful Earth, and I think the reason that he selected the two of us was to basically convey that message.

Q. How difficult a decision do you think it was for Asghar Farhadi to not come, and if you can maybe explain what he might have told you in his own words in sending you here in his place?

A. (Anousheh Ansari)  Well, it was very difficult.  As you know, this will be his second Oscar, and he’ll be the fourth foreign filmmaker to receive two Oscars, so it was a big deal for him.  And I think not coming, he felt that it’s very important to make this statement he made, which I read on stage.

A. (Dr. Firouz Naderi)  When you want to stand on your principles, you have to make hard choices, and he just made one.

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