March 17, 2017
Last month, retired NASA scientist Firouz Naderi joined Anousheh Ansari at the Oscars to accept Asghar Farhadi’s award for best foreign language film. He did not speak, but his appearance and silence sparked a number of critical postings to his Facebook page.
Some said he should have spoken out about human rights in Iran, or accused him of being pro-American, anti-Iranian, or pro-monarchy.
Naderi subsequently posted a statement on his Facebook page explaining that he and Ansari were only given enough time—45 seconds—on stage for Ansari to read the statement given to them by Farhadi, so neither said anything else.
In his statement, Naderi said, “An avalanche of trash by professional mudslingers has hit my public Facebook page. The complaint is why didn’t I usurp my time on the stage to broadcast to a billion worldwide audience a litany of Islamic Republic of Iran criminal activities and human rights violations.”
He responded with 20 comments. Here are a few of them:
“3. Did I support Obama’s nuclear deal agreement with Iran? Yes I did. Good for both countries.
“4. Do I support bombing Iran? Hell no. If my family was taken hostage in my own home, I would not burn down the building to get rid of the hostage takers. There are those who support such action but I think they have forfeited their right to be called Iranians.
“5. Am I a royalist? No. I am not. But, I have an enormous respect for Shahbanou Farah, and have met Reza Pahlavi and I think like his father he is a patriot.
“6. Have I been silent on the subject of human rights in Iran? If you have followed me since 2009 you would know that I have spoken out often.
“7. Why do I talk politics on social media when I have not studied political science? I think those who ask this question are people who have not lived in a democracy. It is a responsibility of each citizen to engage in political affairs of the country – in my case America.
“8. Did I support Donald Trump? No. I am a liberal democrat. I voted in the primaries for Bernie Sanders.
“9. Do I support Trump’s travel ban? No I do not. It is not good for America.
“10. After living in America for nearly 50 years do I see myself more American or Iranian? Being Persian is part of my history, and being an American is part of my identity and the two are irretrievably intermixed — like an egg that once scrambled, you cannot separate the yolk from the white. America is my country, and Iran is my homeland. And how blessed I am to be rooted in an ancient civilization with a rich culture, and at the same time a proud American living in this young nation that has lifted me on her shoulders, allowing me to reach for the stars.”