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May 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Donald Trump’s decision to repudiate the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran was never brought up at a news conference for Iranian director Asghar Ferhadi at the Cannes Film Festival today (Wednesday), but Ferhadi did issue a controversial plea to the government of Iran that was not related to the nuclear pact. He appealed to it to allow fellow Iranian director Jafar Panahi to come to Cannes for the May 13 screening of his movie, Three Faces, which was selected for the awards competition. “I would like to send out this message, Ferhadi said. “I hope the decision would be made to allow him to come.” Originally placed under house arrest for making “propaganda against the state,” Panahi is now allowed limited rights to travel within Iran, but he is not permitted to travel abroad. In his remarks, Ferhadi, whose own film, Everybody Knows, opened the 71st edition of the festival Tuesday night, observed, ““It’s a very strange feeling for me to be able to be here whereas he cannot be here.” He added. “This is something I have difficulty living with. It’s wonderful that he’s continued his work in the face of such adversity.” Ferhadi indicated that he speaks to Panahi regularly and would describe to him how the festival-goers react to the screening of Three Faces. However, he added, “What’s important for him is … to be able to see how spectators view his film. It’s not by reading the news that he’ll get this experience.” The festival itself has appealed to the French government to intervene and ask Iranian officials to allow Panahi to travel to Cannes next week.