Expressing his regret, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has confirmed that he will not attend the Academy Awards on February 26 — “even if exceptions were to be made for my trip,” he said in a statement today. Word had begun to spread yesterday that an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Friday, which prohibits entry into the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries including Iran, could prevent the 2012 Oscar winner and current nominee from traveling to Los Angeles.

Farhadi won the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2012 for A Separation and is nominated again this year in the same category for The Salesman. On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called the possibility that Farhadi could be prohibited from attending the Oscars due to the ban “extremely troubling.” Hollywood also responded in solidarity.

In the statement released today by his Canadian distributor Elevation Pictures, quoting a New York Times interview, Farhadi said he had fully intended to attend the ceremony, and share his “opinions about these circumstances” with the local press. “I neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection, for I know that many in the American film industry and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are opposed to the fanaticism and extremism which are today taking place more than ever.”

When I spoke with him from Tehran on Tuesday after the Oscar nominations, he sounded eager to retun to Los Angeles for the annual Oscar nominees luncheon and related events.

But today he said, “It now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

The powerful statement (see it in full below) says, “To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity.” Farhadi also speaks of “hardliners” not only in the U.S., but his own country for whom “instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals.”

On a hopeful note, he adds, “I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences.”

Earlier this week, The Salesman star Taraneh Alidoosti said she would not attend the Oscars as a protest against Trump’s then-proposed order. She called the visa ban “racist.”

Here’s Farhadi’s full statement:

“I regret to announce via this statement that I have decided to not attend the Academy Awards Ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community.

“Over the course of the past few days and despite the unjust circumstances which have risen for the immigrants and travelers of several countries to the United States, my decision had remained the same: to attend this ceremony and to express my opinions about these circumstances in the press surrounding the event. I neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection, for I know that many in the American film industry and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are opposed to the fanaticism and extremism which are today taking place more than ever. Just as I had stated to my distributor in the United States on the day the nominees were announced, that I would be attending this ceremony along with my cinematographer, I continued to believe that I would be present at this great cultural event.

“However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip. I would therefore like to convey via this statement what I would have expressed to the press were I to travel to the United States. Hardliners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way. In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an ‘us and them’ mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of ‘them’ and inflict fear in the people of their own countries.

“This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same. For years on both sides of the ocean, groups of hardliners have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears. Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals.

“However, I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences. I believe that the root cause of many of the hostilities among nations in the world today must be searched for in their reciprocal humiliation carried out in its past and no doubt the current humiliation of other nations are the seeds of tomorrow’s hostilities. To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity. I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”

-Asghar Farhadi, Iran