With the deadline looming for Tehran to reach a nuclear agreement with world powers, six top Iranian film directors have launched an Internet campaign with the tagline “there is no deal that is worse than no deal,” marking the strongest public statement on the subject to come from the country’s creative community.
The dedicated website no2nodeal.com significantly is in English and clearly directed at the international community. It features pictures of the six prominent helmers – including 2011 foreign Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) (pictured), revered auteur Abbas Kiarostami, and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, considered Iran’s premier female helmer, whose multi-stranded “Tales” recently won the best screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival.
Iran and six world powers have given themselves a deadline of November 24 for either reaching a deal or giving up negotiations. The six world powers are the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany.
Other slogans on the website read: “Before the end of the year a simmering crisis that affects us all can be resolved,” suggesting that a deal is possible and better than “No Deal” because “Sanctions have hurt ordinary Iranians. Not the Iranian nuclear program,” another slogan on the site says.
The other three directors behind the No2NoDeal.com campaign are Majid Majidi, known internationally for “Children of Heaven,” among other titles, and now in post on megabudget local religious blockbuster “Prophet Muhammad,” director Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour, who heads Iran’s House of Cinema, which is Iran’s main movie-industry guild; and Reza Mirkarimi, whose dramedy “A Cube Of Sugar” went to the Montreal fest in 2011.
Iran’s artistic community supports current moderate President Hassan Rohani, who scored a major election victory in June 2013 in part due to his promises to engage with the West diplomatically in order to resolve the nuclear dispute.
Shortly after Rohani’s victory the House of Cinema, which had been shuttered two years earlier by hardliners, was reopened. A couple of months later, censors lifted screening bans on several films, including Bani-Etemad’s “Tales,” which is about Iran’s economic hardships, caused in large part by the crippling sanctions.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has reportedly recently told Tehran media that the negotiations on what would be a historic accord will resume in Vienna or Geneva within two weeks.
Western countries have long suspected Iran of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian atomic program. Iran denies these allegations and insists its nuclear program is entirely devoted to peaceful purposes like electrical energy and medical purposes.
The main bone of contention is reportedly over Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium, a process that can make fuel for peaceful nuclear uses but is also the core of an atomic bomb.