Iran's culture minister Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini said on Monday that his country will boycott the 2013 Oscars in the wake of the 75-minute anti-Islam film made in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad, Fars reported.
At least 51 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed in violence linked to protests over the film, which also has renewed debate over freedom of expression in the U.S. and in Europe.
Yesterday, Iran reported that acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi's dramatic comedy "A Cube of Sugar" has been named for the 2013 Oscar's foreign-language film submission.
Iran's culture minister confirmed that the committee in charge of selecting Iran's entry has already picked the film for submission.
Hosseini said the Islamic Republic of Iran would not field an entry for next year's awards due to the low-budget film he dubbed "an intolerable insult to the Prophet of Islam". Hosseini also urged other Islamic countries to also boycott the ceremony.
Earlier on Monday, Javad Shamaghdari, head of the government-controlled cinema agency, said the Oscars should be boycotted until the organizers denounce the anti-Islam film entitled "Innocence of Muslims," which has prompted outrage among Muslims around the world.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the 2012 Oscar for best foreign film for his movie, "A Separation" - the first such prize for Iran.
The Oscar win was officially welcomed in Tehran, yet many Iranian hard-liners were also upset by the movie's exposure of the troubles in Iranian society through the story of a collapsing marriage.
Edited by: S. Isayev