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Join Maz Jobrani and Elon Gold to Give Peace a Dance


By Parsa Garrett, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

Iranian American comedian and NIAC Advisory Board member Maz Jobrani teamed up with Jewish American comedian Elon Gold in a new campaign called “Give Peace a Dance” asking for peace between the United States, Israel, and Iran through diplomatic channels rather than military strikes.  According to the two comedians, “Iranians just elected a new, more pragmatic president. Israelis are seeking a more secure region. Americans clearly don’t want another war in the Middle East. Experts know what the deal needs to look like. Don’t let politics get in the way." 

The campaign features a video of Jobrani, who will be featured at NIAC’s 2013 Annual Leadership Conference, and Gold answering the question, “What would you do for peace?” Ultimately, the comedians decide to give peace a dance and urge viewers to do the same by signing a letter that asks world leaders to “re-start the diplomatic dance” and by posting videos of themselves giving peace a dance on YouTube or Vine.

Watch “How an Iranian and Jewish Comedian Take a Stand For Peace” and 
sign Maz and Elon’s letter here!


Jobrani and Gold’s request for diplomatic solutions could be satisfied in coming weeks by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and United States President Barack Obama. Positive signals from both sides have shown that diplomatic solutions that ease tensions are a real possibility. 

President Obama has acknowledged that Rouhani’s pragmatic approach is one that the United States has yet to encounter. As a result, he is willing to test dialogue with Iran and consider a loosening of sanctions if Iran can show that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. Obama administration officials have confirmed that President Obama has reached out to President Rouhani through private letter exchanges in which he has echoed these sentiments directly. 

Last Wednesday, eleven prominent prisoners of conscious, including human rights lawyer Nasrin Soutodeh, who President Obama explicitly called to be released in 2011, were released from prison in Iran. This move comes on the eve of Rouhani’s first visit to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he will likely continue his campaign for constructive engagement with the United States.

President Obama is also scheduled to speak at the U.N. General Assembly this week and the White House has stated that a meeting between the two Presidents is possible - if a meeting takes place, it would be the first such meeting since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

President Rouhani and newly appointed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been given enhanced authority over nuclear negotiations, an area which has been under the authority of the Supreme National Security Council until now. The Supreme Leader himself has shown strong support for Rouhani’s pragmatic approach and “flexibility” in negotiations and has requested that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps distance itself from political issues. 

In an NBC interview with Ann Curry last week, Rouhani gave his most explicit reassurance to date and vowed that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon. He also reiterated that his administration has “full power and complete authority” and the “sufficient political latitude to solve [the nuclear impasse]”.

These comments were followed by an op-ed in the Washington Post last Thursday where Rouhani continued his campaign for constructive engagement and mutual respect between Iran and the United States.  Rouhani stated, “I’m committed to fulfilling my promises to my people, including my pledge to engage in constructive interaction with the world,” adding that, “A key aspect of my commitment to constructive interaction entails a sincere effort to engage with neighbors and other nations to identify and secure win-win solutions.” Rouhani’s apparent control of the nuclear file shows that he does in fact have the trust of Supreme Leader to find a diplomatic solution to the impasse. 

Rouhani also stated Iran’s willingness and readiness to broker an agreement between the Syrian government and opposition. This followed last Monday's remarks where Rouhani said Iran would accept any democratically elected leader in Syria, indicating that Iran might be open to a transition of power that slows the killing in Syria. As of yet, Iran has not been invited to previous high-level multilateral Syria talks, but Rouhani’s comments may open the door for Iran’s involvement in the future.

This week at the United Nations General Assembly presents a great opportunity for both leaders to extend a hand to one another and as Maz and Elon say - “re-start the diplomatic dance.”

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