Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi was born in Teheran in 1961 to two journalist parents. She studied in France at the American University in Paris and at the IDHEC, the French Institute of Higher Cinematic Studies. In 1982, she moved to the U.S. and continued her studies at the University of Maryland. She is married to Elio Bonazzi.
As a writer, film producer and human rights activist, Zand-Bonazzi has spoken out against American government and private action on Iran:
- "The Halliburton deal was also a hot topic yesterday on many of the Iranian based Web logs that are committed to the new movement to hold a popular referendum on their country’s constitution. One Iranian-American activist, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, said the timing of the deal was terrible. “An American company such as Halliburton should know better to continue these investments in Iran at the same moment when the Bush administration is trying to get European companies doing this kind of business to pressure the regime through threats of divestment,” she said. Ms. Zand-Bonazzi is the daughter of an Iranian journalist and political prisoner, Siamak Pourzand."
- "A New York-based Iranian activist, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, said yesterday that the president's speech "gives people hope." The issues involved in bringing moderation and secularism to Iran, Ms. Zand-Bonazzi said, "must transcend the American anti-Bush clamor." "The masses in the Middle East seeking democracy and secularism find that this stance of the president, this language, and his constant hammering away at the issue is beyond helpful - it's completely correct," Ms. Zand-Bonazzi said."
Natasha Mozgovaya, a Haaretz journalist, interviewed Banafsheh about the looming war against Iran:
- For an Israeli journalist to quote friends in Iran is probably being a bad friend, but Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, an Iranian activist living in the United States, feels insulted that neither American nor Israeli leaders have bothered to talk to those who have a real stake in Iran's future.
"No one in Iran wants to get bombed," she says. "By going to war, the situation will not be solved. It's addressing the symptoms, not the cause, and we must respond to this in a long-term fashion, not patchwork that will spring another asinine leak in 30 years. The regime can be brought down, and we have begged and begged and begged for some assistance for us to do it ourselves, and we sure can but seems like it's the idiocy of the people who cannot think outside the box - starting with Obama, who is forcing Israel's hand, so now the story has become asinine diplomacy or war. And we don't need either," Zand-Bonazzi says.
Her suggestion? The one former Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan hinted at in his interview to the CBS news show "60 Minutes," broadcast in the United States on Sunday - to assist the Iranian opposition. "I applaud Meir Dagan, though I wouldn't quite call the Iranian regime 'rational', she says, referring to a comment he made in the interview.
Wouldn't it hurt the Iranian opposition to receive any aid from the United States or Israel?
"Heck no", she says. "How much more could we be hurt?! Whether we have funding or not, they'll accuse of being puppets anyhow. So what the heck!"
- Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi & Elio Bonazzi, "All Eyes on Iran: In pursuit of freedom", Voices of Freedom, 7 July 2004.
- Global Summit Against Discrimination and Persecution, Speakers: Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi
- Eli Lake, "Halliburton Unit Wins Contract in Iran", The New York Sun , January 12, 2005
- Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, News
- Natasha Mozgovaya, Iranian activist says regime change could resolve nuclear standoff, Haaretz, 15 March 2012.
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