Top Iranian filmmakers urge nuclear deal

Online campaign called No2NoDeal asks Tehran to seek solution with the West in exchange for sanctions relief

Asghar Farhadi, from Iran, poses with his award for best foreign language film for "A Separation" during the 84th Academy Awards. (photo credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
Asghar Farhadi, from Iran, poses with his award for best foreign language film for "A Separation" during the 84th Academy Awards. (photo credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

Six top Iranian film directors have launched an Internet campaign for international agreement on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, warning that “no deal” would be the worst possible outcome.

The appeal under the slogan “No2NoDeal” comes as Iran and world powers have set themselves a November 24 target for a comprehensive agreement on a peaceful Iranian nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

Israel has said it would be better to reach no agreement than a deal that could allow the Islamic republic to develop a nuclear bomb, despite repeated Iranian assurances that its program is for purely civilian uses.

Among the signatories of No2NoDeal are Abbas Kiarostami, winner of the 1997 Palme d’Or in Cannes for his film “Taste of Cherry”, and Asghar Farhadi, whose work “Separation” won an Oscar for best foreign language movie in 2012.

The Internet campaign was initiated by the foreign ministry which is in charge of negotiations with world powers, due to resume by the end of October, one of the signatories told Iranian Mehr news agency.

By Thursday, the English-language appeal had attracted more than 1,500 likes on Facebook and 240 followers on Twitter.

“Before the end of the year, a simmering crisis that affects us all can be resolved,” the filmmakers declare on their site. “Sanctions have hurt ordinary Iranians, not the Iranian nuclear program.

“Special interests should not mislead us: there is no deal that is worse than ‘no deal’,” warn the six directors, some of whose work is banned in Iran.

Majid Majidi, another of the signatories, quoted by Mehr, said he had been contacted by the foreign ministry to help build up support for the negotiations but stressed that the aim was not to strike a deal “at any price”.

The ministry itself, meanwhile, hailed what it called “the participatory and responsible attitude of internationally known Iranian artists” to win the backing of world public opinion for a deal.

The other three signatories are Mehdi Asgarpour, who heads Iran’s House of Cinema guild, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, considered the “First Lady of Iranian Cinema”, and Reza Mirkarimi, whose film “Today” is Iran’s entry to the 2015 Academy Awards.

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