Iran will boycott the Oscars to protest the anti-Islam video "Innocence of Muslims."
Iran's culture minister Mohammed Hosseini said Monday that the country had already decided it would submit the film "A Cube of Sugar" into the best foreign film race, but will no longer be entering the competition, according to a report by the Associated Press. Hosseini said "Innocence of Muslims," a low-budget film that portrays Muhammad as a false prophet and sexual deviant, is an "intolerable insult" to Muslims.
Iran won the Oscar for best foreign film last year for "A Separation." The film, which looks at the struggles of a middle-class family, was also nominated for best original screenplay. "A Cube of Sugar" centers on a family coming together for a wedding that takes an unexpectedly tragic turn.
"Innocence of Muslims" has inspired protests from Egypt to Pakistan and has been linked to dozens of deaths throughout the Muslim world, including the killing of the American ambassador in Libya. However, it is still not known if the attacks on U.S. diplomats in Libya resulted from anger over the film or if a strike was planned to correspond with the anniversary of 9/11.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that the film was deplorable, but that protests should remain humane.
"Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly," Ahmadinejad said. "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."