Political controversy struck the Oscars yesterday, as Iranian officials announced that they would be boycotting this year's Academy Awards to protest the anti-Islamic viral video "The Innocence of Muslims," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Iran, of course, won this year's Oscar for Asghar Farhadi's acclaimed family drama "A Separation" and had already revealed that they would be entering Reza Mirkarimi's comedy "A Cube of Sugar" for the 2013 ceremony.
Those plans have now been scrapped, with Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini calling for a widespread boycott of the Oscars.
"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," Hosseini said in a statement. "This film was made in America and the Oscars are held there, and so far no official stance by the nation that made this film has been taken."
The announcement follows an appearance by Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on CNN over the weekend, where Ahmadinejad condemned "The Innocence of Muslims."
"Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly," Ahmadinejad told Piers Morgan. "This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn't take place, and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced that they will not comment until after the foreign language film submission deadline passes on Oct. 1.