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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Prominent Iranians express solidarity with protesters

A number of famous actors, film directors and comedians have taken to social media and news outlets to voice their support for the anti-government demonstrators in Iran

Nazanin Boniadi, pictured here in a scene from the Nespresso commercial starring George Clooney, is one of several high-profile Iranians who have taken to social media to express support for the anti-government protesters taking to the country's streets. Courtesy Nespresso / YouTube
Nazanin Boniadi, pictured here in a scene from the Nespresso commercial starring George Clooney, is one of several high-profile Iranians who have taken to social media to express support for the anti-government protesters taking to the country's streets. Courtesy Nespresso / YouTube

A host of Iranian actors, film directors and comedians have spoken up in support of the tens of thousands of anti-government protesters who have taken to the country’s streets since last Thursday.

Shappi Khorsandi, a British comedian and author of Iranian origin, tweeted that she was “watching the protests and crying”, and said she felt “solidarity with the beautiful, freedom-loving people of Iran”.

As reports emerged on Iranian state TV that 10 people have been killed in the nationwide protests, Ms Khorsandi said she was “desperate for the safety of the protesters”. Her own uncle had been shot dead in the 1979 demonstrations, she said.

She urged “Western liberals” to “support the protesters”, adding: “may 2018 bring an end to those who hijacked Iran in 1979.”

Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist, filmmaker and former political prisoner, wrote an article in The Washington Post in which he commented that “the Iranian people have learnt, after living almost 40 years under the Islamic Republic, to gradually and intelligently raise their voices in peaceful protests”.

On Twitter, he added that while the focus is currently on the protests, it is also important to remember “the courageous Iranian men and women who take extraordinary measures every day to lead a normal life”.

Nazanin Boniadi, a British-American actor who was born in Tehran at the height of the Iranian Revolution, told her 38,000 followers on Twitter that the Iranian people should be allowed “the right to self-determination”.

She added: “I hope the world is listening to their chants”.

In a separate message, the actor said the mass protests were a sign of “just how societally debilitating these economic hardships have become, galvanising people in opposition to the deeper malaise of an oppressive state”.

She also praised another popular actor, Mahnaz Afshar, for “courageously supporting” the Iran protests.

The Iranian actor, who has starred in numerous films including Raees in 2006 and Shirin in 2008, tweeted on December 31: “This is the voice of the people who are protesting and do not answer to the sound of tear gas and batons.”

Meanwhile, Yara Shahidi, the Iranian-American star of sitcom 'Blackish', simply tweeted that she hoped all protesters, including her “fellow Mashhadies” — where the protests first broke out — stay safe amid the unrest.

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Read more:

Iran unrest is 'start of a big movement': Nobel Peace Prize-winner Ebadi

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US president Donald Trump has voiced his support for the protesters on Twitter, saying, "People are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism." He added that the US is "watching very closely for human rights violations."

His comments provoked an angry response from Iran's president Hassan Rouhani, who said: "The one who has opposed the Iranian nation from his head to his toe has no right to express sympathy for people of Iran."

Trita Parsee, president of the National Iranian American Council, said Mr Trump's tweets were not helpful. "This is not about Trump and Trump stepping into this is not necessarily helpful because he doesn't carry any credibility in Iran."

Reza Marathi, the council's research director said the protest movement "is of an Iranian origin and it will be of an Iranian ending".