Javad Shamaghdari

The deputy head of Film and Cinema Affairs at Iran’s Culture Ministry has called for a boycott of the 85th Academy Awards.

While Ye Habbeh Ghand (A Piece of Sugar), a film by Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi, has already been entered into the 2013 Oscar competition in the foreign language category, Javad Shamaghdari issued a statement addressed to the Iranian jury members who select the entrants, requesting a boycott of the Oscars.

“I propose that since the members of the Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] has not made a fitting statement denouncing the producers of the film that insults our sacred and heavenly prophet, we reject participation in this cinematic event in sympathy with the half-billion injured Muslims and even seven and a half billion free spirits of the world,” Shamaghdari writes.

He adds that this boycott should remain in effect until the Academy shows an appropriate reaction to said film.

Earlier, the head of the Farabi Cinema Foundation announced that such a boycott had been proposed, but since Hollywood was not involved in the making of the controversial film, it was decided that Iran would still participate in the 2013 Oscar contest with Yeh Habbeh Ghand.

While many conservative members of the Iranian film community have supported the proposal, many experts have also rejected the need for such an action.

Last year Iran’s selection for the Oscars, A Separation won the Academy Award for the best foreign language picture. The Oscars nominees will be announced on January 10, 2013, and the award ceremony will take place in Hollywood on February 24.